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Full text of "Speech delivered in Faneuil Hall, Boston, October 27, 1857 : also, speech delivered in City Hall, Newburyport, October 31, 1857"

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OCTOBER 27, 1857 





OCTOBER 31, 1857 






Fellow Citizens of the Slate of Massachusetts : — 

I present myself before you, in this time and place, to discuss the 
political questions of the day, at the request of the Young Men's 
Democratic Association, who have been pleased to think that it was 
a duty, incumbent on me, to contribvite my share of effort to the ob- 
ject of securing the full exposition of the issues, presently to be 
passed upon by the people of the Commonwealth. 

Let me not be ashamed to confess, that, many times before as it has 
happened to me to speak from this very spot, I have not been able to 
look forward without solicitude to the present hour and its appointed 
task. I come to it now with unaffected self-distrust. I seem, to 
myself, to be awed into solemnity by the visible presence, as it were, 
of the Genius of Faneuil Hall. 

Besides, if I speak at all, I cannot deal in commonplace, or in 
mere generalities, but must address myself to the living questions of 
the crisis, such as as palpitate in the bosoms of men, and occupy the 
common thought of the hustings, the workshop, the counting-room, 
the street, and the fireside. To speak thus, and thus only, is a 
necessity of my position not less than a point of honor. 

On this account, I come to you, avowedly and visibly, with a writ- 
ten address. I know, as well as any man living, I know by the prac- 
tice and observation of thirty years, how much of advantage there is, 
at least for momentary impression, in the fact, or the appearance if 
not the fact, of extemporaneous oratory ; the impassioned manner, 
the moving eye, the kindling soul within us, working, as it were, 
before the very eyes of the spectator-auditor. But I know its dangers 
also ; and, to avoid them, I, of set purpose, relinquish its advantages. 
I will not run the risk, in the heat of the mind's action, of saying 
more or less than I mean ; I will not have the opportunity of substi- 
tuting after thoughts for the spoken words : respectfully soliciting of 
the press the favor to abstain from any abstract or report of my re- 
marks, and thus to aid me in the accomplishment of what is, in that 
respect, a well meant design. 

I take this course for another reason. It has come to be the opin- 
ion, outside of Massachusetts, that passion and prejudice have so 
possessed themselves of the mind of the State, that its inhabitants 
cannot and will not listen to adverse opinions ; that freedom of speech 
is here but a name ; that, notwithstanding what is continually said of 
the repressive laws at the South to prevent the discussion of certain 
questions there, the bigotry of party here just as effectually prevents 

it in Massachusetts ; that Boston will as a matter of pride have afforded 
a hearing to Senator Toombs, but which, it is alleged, is an exception 
proving the rule of general exclusion, as evinced by the ann-er excited 
in some quarters by the presence of Senator Mason at Eunkcr Hill ; 
and that, in general, any person, who ventures to combat th( prevalent 
errors of Massachusetts, will be received, not with respectful attention, 
not even with indifferent silence, but Avith violence, vituperation and 
personal reproach and calumniation, more especially at the hands ol 
a class of persons, who profess to be the especial champions of liberty 
in the United States. — Is that so ? I do not believe it. 

I kitow that there was a time, when Quakers were hanged in Mas- 
sachusetts, because of their very bad taste in the abuse of personal 
pronouns, or for some other equally cogent reason ; that there was a 
time, when Mistress Anne Hutchinson was expelled from the State 
for want of orthodoxy regarding the covenant of Avorks, — which 
touches me the more closely, seeing that my ancestor, John Cotton, was 
infected with the same heresy, — damnable heresy, I think the phrase 
then was. And the remembrance of these things has led to the im- 
pression, in many parts of the United States, that there is, in the 
people of Massachusetts, a sort of hereditary taint of intolerance, de- 
scended to us from our forefathers of the Puritan Commonwealth. 

I have in this relation particular cause of solicitude. It was the for- 
tune of myself, a man of Massachusetts, during the four years which 
but lately elapsed, to be one of the seven persons, whose duty it is, by 
the Constitution and the laws, to administer the executive government 
of the United States, under the direction, general or special, of the 
President. Among the seven was another son of Massachusetts, 
(Mr. Marcy,) since deceased, full of years and honors. I solemnly 
aver, and pledge myself to prove, on proper occasion, that, in every 
act of that Administration, there was due regard to the interests and the 
honor of this Commonwealth. I repeat, in every act, treaties, tariffs, 
aye, even the debated questions of the organization of the new terri- 
tories. I mention, as conspicuous illustrations of this averment, the 
successful conclusion of the fishery question, of the colony trade 
question, and of the sound dues question, objects, all, of the utmost 
importance to Massachusetts, to her interests and her honor alike ; 
and which objects, for thirtj- years before, to my personal knowledge, we, 
the people of Massachusetts, had been laboring in vain to accomplish 
under each and every Administration of the Federal Government, and 
which had baffled the efforts of John Quincy Adams and of Daniel 
Webster. I say, these, and many other things of the same character, 
the Administration of Franklin Pierce did ; and did, by no means be- 
cause it contained in its body three men of New England, but with 
the cordial co-operation, not only of the honorable, wise and upright 
Campbell and McLelland, — men of the North, — but with equally cor- 
dial co-operation, nay, in signal instances, the initiation, of the good 
and generous Dobbin, — alas, now no m re, — of the strong-headed 
and large-hearted Guthrie, and of that othu'r intellectual, high-minded, 
and at the North most misunderstood and calumniated, man cf the 
South, Jefferson Davis. I say, and say it proudly, to my country, to 
the world, and to posterity, that these things we did, and did with the 
cordial unanimity of a band of brothers ; that there was never an 

act of questionable rectitude to cast so much as tlie shadow of a staia 
upon ths white ermine of that Administration ; and that, in the dis- 
position of the great concerns of the country, of immense public 
interests, domestic and foreign, the Administration of President Pierce 
deserves well of the whole people of the United States, especially 
well of the people of the North, and most especially well of you, the 
people of Massachusetts, 

But all this, it is pretended, the people of the North and of Mas- 
sachusetts have forgotten, or have chosen not to see, and have thrown 
behind them in blind wrath, because of a diflcrence of opinion in the 
country upon an abstract question of law, — the merest of all technical 
abstractions, since of no possible effect practically one way or the 
other, as I shall presently demonstrate, — and because of the oppor- 
tunity, which the solution of that abstract question of law afforded to 
aspiring men, in the necessary interval between the enactment of an 
act of Congress and the complete execution of that act, the actual 
exhibition of its nature by events, — to raise once more, and maintain 
for awhile, the cry of southern domination. over the North. 

Hence, the Administration of Franklin Pierce which is passed, and 
that of James Buchanan which follows' it, and all concerned in either, 
have been heaped with opprobrium, and the true character of their acts 
has been disregarded, and their impartiality of national spirit, nay, 
their direct attention to the principles and the interests of the North, has 
been falsely imputed as partiality to the South, and they have been 
condemned therefor, by persons, who, with similar distorted vision, at 
former times, viewed ia reverse the merits of the acquisition of Loui- 
siana by Jefferson, and of the declaration of war against Great Britain 
by Madison. 

And now, when that latest in order of the successive bubbles of sec- 
tional jealousy has burst; now when, in spite of the prevision of so 
many good men in the North, and I may say, — not in spite of their 
wishes, for that would be unjust, — but in spite of their perverse 
endeavors to prove that it must and would be otherwise, Kansas is a 
free State ; — now, in the same school of aspiring public men, there is 
attempt to extract from the currency troubles of the day new matter 
of sectional prejudice, and thus haply to get one more touch of the lash 
at the raw on the flanks of the galled jade of sectional jealousy and 
hatred, and to keep her shambling and stumbling along in spasmodic 
agony a little longer, and so postpone for a year or two the time of 
cordial understanding, and zealous co-operation for the public good, 
between the national statesmen and the people of the North and the 
South, the East andlhe West. 

Yes, that is the issue now on trial in Massachusetts. One of the 
three parties, which contests the power of the Commonwealth against 
the other two, and Avhich arrogantly assvmies to possess that power 
even before the people have so decided by their suffrage, — that party 
plants itself on the insulated ground of sectional jealousies ; it mounts 
once again that broken-down, spavined, foundered hack of sectional 
malice, hatred, and all uncharitubleness, and thus thinks to ride into 
power in this Commonwealth, and from thence into the government 
of the United States. That, I say, is the issue now on trial in Mas- 
sachusetts, and on which I desire to speak. Will you hear me? Will 


you concede to me that liberty of speecli, whicli is practised by others 
at my expense, and which riots in -wholesale denunciation of the 
Democratic party, of its measures and of its men, whether Pierce or 
Buchanan occupy the post of the Presidency ? 

I ask this question the more anxiously, inasmuch as I shall have to 
sp^ak of men as well as things, — not merely because the adversaries of 
the Democratic party do this, and do it with no pretension of reserve, — 
but because there can be no frank discussion otherwise; because, in 
public affairs, men personify, though they do not always represent, prin- 
ciples ; and especially on the present occasion, because, of the three 
candidates for the government of the State, one only, Mr. Beach, con- 
tinues to be held up as the candidate of a great political party, with 
its creed of doctrines, its definite present policy, its unmistakable 
future position, and a national organization co-extensive with the 
Republic ; while the other two, Mr. Gardner and Mr. Banks, as is 
every day more and more distinctly seen, are each the head of parties, 
which, owing to what they comprehend in their respective ranks as 
well as what they do not comprehend, are coming to be denominated, 
by common consent, one the Gardner party and the other the Banks 
party, — accessions to, or desertions from, and transitions to and fro 
between, these two personal parties, being so numerous, so frequent, 
so sudden, and performed with so much tranquil assurance of self- 
satisfied agility of circus-like saltation from one side to the other, 
with such odd incidents of persons, and even respectable pubUc jour- 
nals, belonging to both sides, or falling between the two and there 
sitting helplessly in the disconsolate but most comical yj.r of incurable 
bewilderment and despair, — that the curious spectator knows not 
whether to laugh or to weep over the humiliating spectacle of the 
abyss of disgrace, into which fanatical sectionalism of policy has 
plunged the dear, good, puzzled old Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 
I say that the parties opposed to the Democratic party are so personal, 
that, in speaking of them, one cannot discuss things without alluding 
to men. That is particularly impossible in regard to the American- 
Republican party, as at the start I think it called itself, but from 
which the Americans have declared off to nominate Mr. Gardner, and 
the Republicans to nominate Mr. Swan. 

But indeed I have no purpose to say a word to the prejudice of 
either Mr. Gardner or Mr. Banks, except as involved in the temperate 
and courteous discussion of the great issues of the canvass, and more 
especially the doctrines of the Republicans in their relation to the 
peace and well-being of Massachusetts, and of the United States. 

It has been my fortune to be associated with Mr. Gardner and Mr. 
Banks in the legislature of Massachusetts, — with Mr. Banks, also, in . 
our diverse paths of public duty at Washington, — and with each in 
social and personal intercourse. I respect and esteem them, and shall 
not be unfaithful to that sentiment. With Mr. Banks especially, 
of whose present line of policy I shall have much to say, I would, if 
our political relations permitted, reason not as an adversary but as a 

I shall speak, in fine, the solemn convictions of my judgment, not 
only in presence of you, my fellow citizens, and of my own conscience, 
but in that of my country and my God. 

There is no presumption in saying that the winged words, uttered 
here this day, will fly beyond the limits of Massachusetts, — not be- 
cause of him who utters them, but because uttered in Faneuil Hall. It 
is Faneuil Hall which speaks, — Faneuil Hall, whose voices are as of the 
Archangel in mid-heaven, and the echoes of which reverberate from 
its time-honored vault over earth and ocean like the rolling thunder 
of a summer eve. For whatever of earnest conviction, embodied in 
earnest speech, is favored enough^ to occupy this echo-point of the 
Commonwealth, that is propagated from hence throughout the Union, 
to be pondered and judged by thoughtful men, as well on the placers 
of California and the prairies of Texas and Minnesota, as in the cities 
and farm-houses of Massachusetts. 

I begin with saying all, that the occasion calls on me to say, 
respecting the position of the actual Governor of the Commonwealth. 

In the first place, I cannot concur with Mr. Gardner and his friends 
in apprehension of danger to the public liberties from European emi- 
gration to the United States,' and, least of all, from the emigration of 
the men of those superior races, Teutonic and Celtic, the combination 
of which, and not the exclusion of either, is the secret of the loftiness 
in the scale of nations of Great Britain and the United States. 

In the second place, I cannot conceive how it is possible that gen- 
tlemen, who, in the intensity of their patriotic Americanism, object to 
the Germans and Irish, — nephe^Vs of our fathers, blood cousins of our- 
selves, — being admitted to equality of political right with us, should 
be solicitous to confer that equality on Africans. Surely the inconve- 
niences, to which any white man of the industrial classes of Massachu- 
setts may be subjected, by the influx of white men from Europe, is 
but as nothing, compared with what he would sufier by the influx of 
runaway or of emanciiiated black men from Virginia or Kentucky. 
And surely, also, he, who, induced by considerations of personal senti- 
ment or political theory, repels the citizen-equality of white Europeans, 
men of our own race, color and kindred, will not seriously maintain 
either the sentiment or the political theory of admissible citizen- 
equality for the most alien of all the possible forms of alienage, black 
men of Africa. 

In the third place, — and this appears to have been strangely over- 
looked, — the question of citizenship, or of votership so to speak, in 
the State of Massachusetts, is wholly independent of the question of 
citizenship in the United States. Women and children all around us 
are citizens of the United States ; but they are absolutely excluded 
from political power by the constitution of Massachusetts. On the 
other hand, aliens by thousands, men who have merely made the pre- 
paratory declaration of their purpose hereafter to become citizens of 
the United States, are, nevertheless, voters, according to express 
provision of the constitutions of several of the States ; such, for 
example, as Michigan and Wisconsin. 

Forgetfulness or disregard of these facts, by the way, is at the 
bottom of much of the misconception current concerning the case of 
Dred Scott. Any State of the Union, which chooses, can make him 
and others of his class its citizens and its voters ; for the question, who 
shall be voters in the several States, even for Members of Congress 
and for Electors of President, is left, by the Constitution of the United 


States, to be determined by each State for itself. But no State can 
decide who shall be competent to sue in the courts of the United 

In the fourth place, I object to any discrimination between citizens 
of the United States on the score of religion. It is the right of every 
man here to worship God according to his own conscience, whether 
he be Protestant or Catholic, Jew or Gentile. 

Finally, the fundamental thought of Americanism is, by its very 
nature, confined in its political relation to the legislation of individual 
States, and cannot constitutionally reach that of the United States, 
except as respects the District of Columbia, or some one of the future 
new Territories. It is analogous, in this point of view, to the anti- 
masonic question, and, like all other single ideas in government, 
incapable of perpetuity of party organization. It will attain its single 
legislative object, and then, of course, no longer have cau^e to act; or 
it will find the attainment of that object impracticable, and then, of 
necessity, cease to act. Thus, it is of local importance only, in this 
or that State for instance, and without, in itself, potentiality of influ- 
ence, in my judgment, either for good or evil, on the general welfare 
of the Union. 

When, therefore, a large body of most respectable persons, of what 
was once the Whig party, not American by opinion or association, 
had concluded to vote for Mr. Gardner, and one of the worthiest 
among them, Mr. Hillard, appeared in this hall to avow and justify 
their conclusion, it was easy to foresee that any such justification must 
repose on personal grounds, or grounds of expediency, not of political 

First, Mr. Hillard recognizes the wise independence of sundry ex- 
ecutive acts 06 Governor Gardner, — acts, which do indeed entitle him 
to the commendation of his fellow citizens. But Mr. Hillard also 
recognizes, with honorable approbation, the wdsdom displayed in legis- 
lative acts of Mr. Beach. So that, on personal considerations, the 
conclusion from these premises might as v.^ell have been for Mr. Beach 
as for j\Ir. Gardner. 

Secondly, Llr. Hillard, conceiving that the election of Mr. Banks, 
especially, would be prejudicial to the interests of the State and the 
Union, and assuming that Mr. Gardner has better chances of success 
than Mr. Be'ach, therefore concludes for Mr. Gardner. I do not con- 
cede the second branch of the gentleman's premises. I would not 
have anticipated the conclusion. I should have looked to that gen- 
tleman, and those with whom he acts, to sui)port, not the seemingly 
stronger party, but the best party, and then to so act as to make that 
the strongest; to disregard the question of conjectural availability in 
the face of doctrine ; to say, if need be, 

Victrix causa diis placuit, sed vita Catoni ; • «. 

and, if new party associations were to be formed, if in search of a 
party as Mr. Hillard professes, to join at once the great Democratic 
party, that only party, no\v in the field, which possesses the vitality of 
a national'and constitutional organization : — seeing the truth of the 
resolution adopted by the Democratic State Convention, to the efi'cct 
that " Since the practical dissolution of the Whig party in the United 

States, and by reason of the dedication of other parties each to some 
one narrow and impracticable idea, the Deniocrulic party, and that 
only, retains the character and qualities of a constitutional, national 
and patriotic association of citizens ; and is alone capable of preserv- 
ing the public peace at home and abroad, administering the great 
interests of the country, and sustaining the integrity of the Consti- 
tution and the Union." 

But they have thought otherwise, as it was their right to do. We 
may regret, we cannot complain at, their decision. And, if they are 
not prepared for that conclusion, towards which the whole country is 
apparently now tending, — namely, to stand on the broad and firm 
platform of the Democratic party, — we may yet rejoice to find that 
they concur with us in resolute opposition to sectional animosity, 
jealousy and agitation, and that the Whigs of Massachusetts are 
manfully and expressly committed to the great cause of the Union. 

I come now to the questions connected with the candidature of Mr. 

Fellow citizens, we all know there is a body of persons in this 
Commonwealth who devote themselves to the idea of raising the black 
men in the United States to an equality of political rights with the 
white men. They are professional philanthropists, if the phrase be 
admissible, — that is, men who pursue a philanthropic idea as their 
main occupation, but wholly outside of political life; laboring to pro- 
mote their idea by speech and writing, or by itinerant agitation, that 
is, indirectly, by influence on the minds of those who legislate, or 
who execute laws, not by direct participation of their own in. legisla- 
tion or administration. Of course, not co-operating with others in 
the practical business of government, they are very much one-sided, 
dogmatic, violent in their language, and not sparing of personal crimi- 
nation and denunciation of all the rest of the world, and especially of 
any others in society, who, differing from them either much or little, 
happen to be conspicuous in public affairs, or directly responsible for 
the Itegislation of the State or the United States. In a word, they 
are impracticable zealots of a single idea. 

That among them are men of eminently intellectu-al character, it 
would be absurd to deny. Such an one as Mr. Theodore Parker. 
That among them are eloquent persons also, it must be admitted, like 
Mr. Wendell Phillips, although he injures his cause, and belittles 
himself, by the petulant personal vituperation, which too frequently 
disfigures his discourse. They have strong-purposed men, also, such 
as Mr. Garrison, of the structure of mind, which grasps an idea, and 
labors on through good and thrjugh evil report to make that idea 
a fact. 

These gentlemen have persuaded themselves that the emancipation 
of the slave laborers in the United States is an object paramount to 
all other human considerations. They know they have no legal 
capacity to act directly in the question. They perceive that the 
Bible is contrary to, or, at least, does not distinctly teach, their doc- 
trines, and therefore they make no account of that. They are aware 
that the Constitution of the United States stands in their path, and 
therefore they would dissolve the Union. I believe Mr. Phillips is, or 
recently was, conventionizing, so to speak, on that project. In a word. 


they are enthusiasts of opinion, who would be cfRcacious agents of 
revolution, if living in a country where revolution is possible, and if 
their theories were susceptible of practical application to any machinery 
of government whatever. 

I desire not to be understood as speaking of these gentlemen with 
personal disrespect. On the contrary, they seem to deserve the 
tribute of sincerity, at least ; for, without they be sincere, how could 
it be that they would outlaw themselves, as it were, by their impar- 
tial hostility to all the political parties of the country, and by their 
avowed, nay, ostentatious, warfare on the Constitution and the Union ? 
These gentlemen assume as theory, and seek to establish as law, 
the equality of Africans and Americans. It avails nothing to say to 
I them that the two races are unequal by nature, and that no laws can 
make them equal in fact. Still, the zealots pursue their idea. 
' Of course, they aim to bring about the emancipation of the colored 
laborers of the South. And here it avails nothing to point to St. 
Domingo, and to Spanish America, and to the British West Indies, 
. and to show that emancipation has proved a curse to the black and 
to the white race alike, and that anarchy, barbarism and misery have 
followed it everywhere, even in the most favored regions of the New 
World. Still they pursue their idea of emancipation in the United 

To accomplish this, or at least to free themselves from association 
with slave labor, and as the only political means of attaining this 
object, they propose the dissolution of the Union, and the organiza- 
tion of a Northern Republic. We may tell them that such a Repub- 
lic is impossible ; that the attempt to organize it would be the signal 
of civil war, not between the North and South, but in the very 
heart of the North, with such of us as will contend in arms, on the 
spot, against any attempt to organize their separate Republic ; that 
if such a Republic existed, it could not advance their, purpose without 
they invaded the South with hostile armies ; that the Middle States 
stand in the way of that ; and, after all, that, to kindle the flames of civil 
and servile war in the United States, appears to be rather questiona- 
ble philanthropy. Still, we cannot move them from their purpose. 

I think it is at the end of this scries of considerations, that Ave are to 
find the fact of the peculiar tone and style of resentfulness, anger and 
measureless denunciation of the Southern States, and of bitterness 
toAvards men at the North, which marks the speech and writing of the 
Emancipationists. They attack fiercely, and they are attacked. Their 
idea is one of revolutionary change in the condition of the country, and 
it is condemned by others as warmly as it is urged by themselves. They 
it disturb and prejudice important interests. Their political ardor has, 
at length, become aggravated by something of theological ardor, 
which is of proverbial intensity. And thus a state of feeling has 
been produced in the community, which, commencing with mere con- 
demnation of negro-servitude, and desire of its abolition, has degen- 
erated, in some quarters, into emotions of morbid jealousy and even 
hatred of the people of the Southern States. 

And that is the state of feeling and emotion in the North, and 
especially in Massachusetts, which aspiring public men seize upon, 


and seek to combine and consolidate, as an instrument of political 
power, by the newly applied name of Republicanism. 

I say aspiring men, not in the sense of reproach, but as a fact. 
Such men as Governor Chase, of Ohio, — Senator Seward of New York, 
— Senator Fessenden, of Maine, — Senator Hale, of New Hampshire, — 
Senator Trumbull, of Illinois, — have the right of political aspiration, 
which belongs to their virtues and their talents. So have Senators 
Sumner and Wilson, of jMassachusetts, although, as between the two, 
Mr. Sumner is more of a theorist, like the Emancipationists proper, and 
Mr. Wilson has more of the qualities and capabilities of a practical 
legislator. And so also has Mr. Banks the right of aspiration, which 
the possession of talents and acquirements gives to him, as to any 
and every citizen of the Republic. 

Now, it is obvious to see that Mr. Banks, unlike the Emancipationists, 
looks to the seats of power as the means of acting on the events of 
the time, acquiring fame, and obtaining his niche in history. Unlike 
the Emancipationists, he rejects the part of a mere professional agitator 
on the outskirts of public affairs. Unlike the Emancipationists, he is a 
practical man, not a visionary theorist ; he sees, clearly, the imprac- 
ticable nature of their ideas ; he does not mean to be outlawed, in 
the estimation of his countrymen, by running a quixotic^ tilt against 
the Constitution of the United States ; on the contrary, he certainly 
prefers to have the Federal Government subsist in its integrity, with 
himself to participate in its administration. 

Hence, it is the well considered policy of Mr. Banks, and of those 
with whom he is at present associated in political action, — perhaps, I 
might say it is the necessity of their position, — whilst holding aloof 
from visible co-operation with the Emancipationists, — whilst in fact 
rejecting and condemning their aims and plans, — yet to exploit, as 
the phrase is in France, the sentiments sown by the Emancipationists 
in the community, and so to mount up to power. ^ 

Thus it has happened that the Republicans, and before them the 
Free Soilers, have made their issues, not on the slavery question itself, f 
but on some occasional and transitory incident of the slavery question, '■ 
for which reason they have been, and will continue to be, beaten suc- 
cessively on each one of their issues, so as to produce the appearance, 
if not the fact, of a positive reaction in favor of slavery, and against 
liberty, analogous to that which has occurred simultaneously in 

I need only point, in proof of this, to the annexion of Texas, the 
Mexican war, the compromise acts of ISJO, and the provisions of the act 
organizing the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas, — neither of them 
deciding any substantive thing on the subject of slavery, but each 
made to appear to do so, on account of the improvident issues raised 
xipon them by a portion of the statesmen of the North. 

Owing to these causes, although none of the statesmen referred to ' 
lend direct countenance to the wild schemes of mere Emancipationism, 
still, it may be doubted whether their line of action is not the cause 
of even greater perturbation of the public peace. The power of 
Emancipationism is paralyzed, for evil as well as for good, by its 
recognized antagonism to the Constitution. But when statesmen 
unpatriotically play with the passions of Emancipationism, and thus 



impart to it force in the public mind, and come at length, insensibly, 
to be imbued Avith its sentiments, as well as to speak its language, 
then the current of legislation and of public affairs is disturbed by 
them, and positive injury is done to the best interests of the Union. 

We have had exemplification of this in the controversy, which is 
just dying out, as to the organization of the Territory of Kansas. 

By a provision of an act of Congress, connected with the admission 
of the State of Missouri into the Union, and commonly called the 
Missouri Compromise, it was enacted that there should never be 
involuntary servitude in certain territory of United States north of a 
prescribed parallel of latitude (36'^ 30'). It of course admitted, 
and did in fact, according to the established rules of statutory con- 
struction, impliedly sanction by law, slavery south of that line. It 
in effect said — there may hereafter be slave labor south of the line, 
there shall not north of it. That was the compromise. On this 
ground it was opposed by some statesmen at the North, who desired 
to propagate free labor south of the line at the expense of the Southern 
States ; and it was approved, and its extension to new territories 
advocated, by others, as a measure of equal justice to the opinions of 
both sections of the Union. 

In this position things stood, until, in a series of decisions of the 
Supreme Court of the United States, it was determined that acts of 
Congress of this nature, restricting in advance the legislative power 
of a State, as to slavery or any thing else, are null and void, because 
contrary to the Constitution. 

Thus it happened that, when the time arrived for establishing the 
Territory of Kansas, the Missouri Compromise had become a dead 
letter on the statute book. It had ceased to have legal vigor. Con- 
gress had no constitutional power to revive it by new enactment. 
To repeal it expressly, was not an act of necessity, but of sincerity, 
of good faith, of frankness, of manliness ; and it was done. Still, 
the express repeal changed nothing in the legal relations of the sub- 
ject; it did but leave the question of slavery, in the incipient State, 
just where by the decisions of the Supreme Court it was placed, that 
is, in the hands of its people. That is the doctrine, not of squatter 
sovereignty, but of popular sovereignty within the range of the limits 
of the Constitution. 

Wc assume all the time, in our discussion of the slavery question 
at the North, that free labor is more productive than slave labor ; that 
it communicates more value to land ; that it is more consonant with 
the nature of man ;-that it alone is moral and religious ; and that the 
settled judgment of mankind is opposed to slave labor on principle. 
Assuming all this, it might be inferred that a new political community, 
with full power to judge for itself on the question, would exclude 
slave labor from its institutions. Especially might we so infer, if the 
new community consis^ted of men of the Northern States. In other 
words, it was perfectly clear that, however it might be if Kansas were 
colonized from the Southern States, yet, if colonized from the Northern 
States, it would certainly be a free labor State. Its condition would 
depend on the source of its colonization. 

Moreover, the line of the Missouri Compromise, as a line of division 
between free labor and slave labor States, ceasing to exist, it was 


perfectly clear that its obliteration would have the effect to open the 
whole rcn;ion to the free competition of the two principles, and the 
result would be to extend slave labor, or to extend free labor, accord- 
ino- to the respective capabilities of colonization of the two adverse 
principles, and of the States which they represent. _ _ ^ 

Now, in such an open competition and free race of colonization. I 
which was likely to succeed, — the slave labor or the free labor States? 
I say, the latter, undeniably; as having the greater _ population in ' 
number, population more easily moved, and population backed by 
emigration from Europe. 

For instance, suppose twO adjoining closes. Black Acre and White 
Acre, each of the same number of roods in extent, arid separated by 
a division fence, with two hundred black sheep in Black Acre and 
three hundred white sheep in White Acre. If, now, we break down 
the division fence, and make common pasturage of the two closes, 
and leave the sheep to take care of themselves, which will get the 
most feed out of the whole, which will occupy most of it, which will 
encroach on ihe other, — the three hundred white sheep or the two 
hundred black sheep? Is not the answer palpable, self-evident, im- 
possible to escape ? Is there any answer but one ? And that is the 
question and answer of free labor extension or slave labor extension 
by the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. 

In disregard of these manifest considerations, it \vas prematurely 
and hastily assumed, by certain of the statesmen of the North in the 
Senate, and they inconsiderately propagated the idea, that, to leave 
the new Territory of Kansas open to the free competition of the two 
principles, was to extend slavery ; in other words they assumed, that, 
in all new territory, whatever the soil and climate, and under what- 
ever circumstances, if the people were left free to act for themselves, 
they would of course introduce slave Libor ; and that, therefore, the 
only salvation of the country consisted in tying the people's hands, 
in this respect, by act of Congress. Hence the irritating, but sterile, 
agitation on the subject of Kansas. 

The same gentlemen also propagated the idea that to repeal the 
Missouri Compromise was a breach of faith. But the power and the 
right, of any Congress, to repeal acts of general legislation, of any 
previous Congress, are so apparent, — it is so obviously absurd to put 
an act of Congress above the Constitution itself, — it is so contrary to 
all the principles of republican government, to deny the moral right 
of the community to change its laws, — that the imputation of br.each 
of faith, in the repeal, passed speedily into merited oblivion. 

Such, in my humble judgment, are the merits of this greatly vexed 
question. That there have been disorders in Kansas, illegal voting, 
acts of individual violence, — is true ; it was to have been expected 
from the circumstances ; not merely by reason of particular causes of 
disorder, which it would be invidious, and is not necessary to my pur- 
pose, now to mention, — but, for the general cause, that here was a sort 
of proclaimed steeple-chase, with much irritating demonstration on 
both sides, bet\veen the Northern and the Southern States, for the 
colonization of Kansas. It was a struggle for power between adven- 
turers in the Territory ; it was a struggle for ascendancy between two 
conflicting theories of social institution ; and it was a struggle of 


pride between opposite sections of the Union. Of course, there were 
disorders ; no human power could prevent that ; President Pierce did 
every thinsj, to that end, which could constitutionally be done. But 
the magnitude of those disorders has been greatly exaggerated for 
effect. They have been much less in degree, less in political import- 
ance and effect, and less in the sacrifice of life, than those, which have, 
during the same period, taken place under our eyes in the State of 
Maryland, without exciting special wonder there, or being deemed 
worthy to be used as the instrument of pulling down, or putting 
ujj, administrations of the Federal Government. 

Behind all these things in Kansas, and one of the operative causes 
of the exaggerated importance given to political controversy there, 
has been a great land-speculation. The inflamed zeal of the whole 
country on the slavery qiiestion, — the discussipn of Kansas in Con- 
gress, and in the State Legislatures, — the making the election of 
President to turn upon it, — corporations, committees and subscriptions, 
North and South, in aid of Kansas, — all these constituted such an 
advertising, such a puff after the manner of Barnum, of the lands of 
that Territory, as no previous land or other speculation in the United 
States had ever enjoyed. 

In confirmation of my own conclusion on the subject, let me quote 
from a recent published address of a most unimpeachable witness, — I 
mean Mr. Etheridge of Tennessee, well known and highly commended 
at the North, for his course on the Kansas Nebraska Bill, and in regard 
to the slave trade. Mr. Etheridge declares, in so many words, that 
Kansas, as connected with the slavery question, was a humhug ; that 
he never saw half a dozen intelligent Southern men who believed it 
would or coiild be a slave State; and that, as to it, speculation in the 
public land had been, from the beginning, the main object of attraction, 
North and South. 

I have not time, and it M-ould be out of place, to reply here to the 
many misrepresentations, in the matter of Kansas, which have been 
applied to the acts of the last and of the present Administrations. 
There is one point, however, which is interesting, and of immediate 

Much has been said of the boguslaws of Kansas, as the enactments 
of its Territorial Assembly are elegantly denominated in the choice 
phraseology of the day. The Republicans in Congress have uttered 
volumes of lamentation over these hogus laAvs, alleging that they 
were not genuine or obligatory, because of imputed irregularities and 
intruded votes at the election of the members of the Assembly. The 
refusal of the Republicans of Kansas to do any act under these laws, 
for more than a year, has been the chief immediate cause of disorder 
in the Territory. The professors of New Haven, with singular igno- 
rance of public law and common right, have been contending, not 
only that the existence of these laws was good cause of revolution, 
but that the President of the United States, the mere administrator 
of constitution and law, was bound to patronize the revolution. Mr. 
Buchanan has disposed of that new^ chemical compound of theology 
and laAv. 

Meanwhile, our fellow citizen. Senator Wilson, naturally anxious 
about his agitation-stock in Kansas, lately visited the Territory. He 


well knew tliat the agitation there was a hogus agitation, and he had 
the sense to see clearly that the cry of hogus laws was untenable, and, 
if persisted in, would but defeat his own friends. Accordingly, hogus 
laws to the contrary notwithstanding, he, as himself tells us in a re- 
cent speech, advised the Republicans of Kansas to go quietly to ,the 
polls and vote, under the hogus laws, — with a. protest, as one pays 
unwilling duties at the Custom House. They did so ; and Kansas is 
a free State. It would have saved the country some trouble, if Sena- 
tor Wilson, or any other man of equal common sense, had thought of 
this protest some time ago, and had at an earlier period counselled 
the people of Kansas to cease playing the fool, and to cease to do so 
under protest, if they chose. 

I ventured, on a fit occasion not long since, to suggest that our 
political troubles, in the United States, are not quite so serious as 
those of some other countries ; and that, in view of the horrors per- 
petrated in British India, it is almost impious for us to be so very 
miserable about our little frontier affairs in Kansas or Utah. I 
thought this was not only true, but a truism. Yet the suggestion has 
drawn from a respectable journal in Boston, and also from Mr. Bur- 
lingame, at the hustings, some very affecting remarks concerning my 
hard-heartedness, — my want of charity for the sufferings of bleeding 

Now, Senator Wilson, in the speech just quoted, says that he 
promised, when in Kansas, to raise for them three or four tliousand 
dollars, on hi« return to Massachusetts. But, he says, he has not 
been able to do this. Nay, he has canvassed Connecticut and New 
York to the same end ; and all New England, with New York besides, 
would not contribute three or four thousand dollars for bleeding 
Kansas. Senator Wilson was not, like our friend Mr. Hillard, in 
search of a party ; that he had already, although it was in rather a 
shaky condition, as the recent popular demonstrations in Pennsyl- 
vania, Ohio and elsewhere show ; but he was in search of a man with 
a heart, — to quote the expressive language of Mr. Burlingame. That 
man could not be found. So it appears that I am not alone in hard- 
heartedness. All New England, and New York, too, exhibit the 
same sort of hardness of heart towards bleeding Kansas. 

Nay, we have now the speech of Gerrit Smith, — a soft-hearted man 
in these matters, if there ever was one, — nay, a truly generous-minded, 
as well as very wrong-headed, gentleman, Mr. Smith tells us that 
he has been hied for Kansas, to his heart's content ; that he has paid 
thousands of dollars on that score, without knowing what has become 
of it, or perceiving that it has done any good ; and that he is resolved 
to cease to bleed for bleeding Kansas. 

On the whole, therefore, I feel consoled, and shall adhere to my 
original belief, that the troubles in Kansas are not half so grave as 
the troubles in British India. Nay, I shall come to the conclusipn, 
under shelter of the personal experience of Mr. Gerrit Smith, ami 
the failure of Senator Wilson to raise four thousand dollars for Kansas 
in New York, and all New England, that there may be good people 
in Massachusetts, needing my charity much more than the Borrio- 
boola-eha of Kansas. 


My fellow citizens, that "Morgan" is used up, it will not even 
keep good " until after election." 

The same fate has overtaken the dreadful case of Dred Scott. It 
was deemed so hard to have it decided that he was not a citizen of 
the United States. Lawyers forgot that so it had been decided, and 
uniformly understoojj. and practised, long ago, in the administration 
of the Government. Good men forgot that the case of the Indians 
was the same, and even harder ; for they, at any rate, are native-born 
Americans by an older and batter title than the Africans. But there 
remained to Dred Scott, and the men of his color, as we have already 
seen, the warm sympathy and support of the free-labor States. They 
could compensate, if not correct, the cruelty of the Supreme Court, 
by their own well administered tenderness ; they could declare Afri- 
cans to be citizens of their own, and invest them with the elective 
franchise, — a much more important privilege than that of being a 
suitor in the District or Circuit Court. Have they done this ? By 
no manner of means. On the contrary, since then, the free State of 
Minnesota has excluded blacks from citizenship ; the free State 
of Iowa has done the same ; and, most cruel stab of all, — not from 
"the envious Casca," but from thee, Brutus, — the Topeka Constitu- 
tion' of Kansas, the embodiment of Republican philosophy and Re- 
publican philanthropy, not content with disfranchising the Africans, 
had actually expelled them from the State. 

I supposed, after this, we should hear no more of Dred Scott. It 
seems, however, that the main point of his case is still misunderstood, 
namely, the relation of the decision to the free States. As to that, 
suffice it to say, that the opinion of the Chief Justice, and especially 
that of Justice Nelson, have for their legal effect, not to impose the 
laws of Missouri on Massachusetts, but to determine absolutely, in 
consonance with all theory of public right and of liberty, that Mis- 
souri, like Massachusetts, has the sole constitutional power to deter- 
mine the legal condition of persons within the State. 

Fellow citizens, you thus perceive that there has been a complete 
break-down of these elaborately constructed platforms of discord, 
upon which, for the last two or three years, the Republicans have 
agitated the United States. The time had come when a new issue 
must be sought. And the present financial crisis of the country has 
been dashed at, as affording such an issue. Mr. Banks presents him- 
self before you, and stakes his election on the endeavor to convert, or 
pervert, the embarrassments of our credit system into a negro 
question, and thus to throw a new stumbling block of offense between 
the Northern and Southern States. It is true Mr. Banks is quite 
oracular on these points, — with much indefiniteness of language and 
want of intelligible correlation of ideas, and with dark intimations, 
quite as fit to be announced, to willing believers, as the equivocal 
voices of Delphi or Dodona. But we shall be able, with careful 
attention, to find the key of these apparent mysteries. 

Mr- Banks, in his speech here, discusses, professedly, the currency 
question, and has three topics of what purports to be suggestion of cause 
for the financial embarrassments of the country, but which is, in fact, 
elaborate accusation of the late Executive of the United States in the 
first instance, and then, beyond that, of the South, — in the aim of 


stimulating at the North emotions of hatred against the South. 
These topics are the tariff, the public lands, and the expenses of the 

First, as to the tariff, Mr- Banks says : — 

" I do not hesitate to say that, if the policy advocated by Mr. Guthrie in 1853 
had been adopted in I800, the present condition of the country Avould not have 
been witnessed, nor the present suffering experienced." 

Then again, making the statement more specific, he says : — 

" At the very last moment of an expiring Congress, such a change was made in 
the revenue laws, as would have relieved the country from the perils which now 
exist, had it been made a year, or even six months earlier." 

First it is two years, then one year, and finally six months, of delay 
in acting on certain recommendations of Mr. Guthrie, which is the 
cause of the evil. 

How did this delay of six months, in the enactment of certain 
changes of the tariff, produce the failure of the Ohio Life and Trust 
Comp my, the panic of the banks of Ne%v York, so plainly shown by 
Mr. Apideton, and the insolvency of the Erie Railroad, or the Illinois 
Central Railroad? That is what one is curious to know\ 

Locking up and dow'n through more than two columns of the re- 
ported speech, where it professes to explain this, the only thing, of 
any conceivable relation of premises to the conclusion, is the state- 
ment that the duties not sooner taken off occasioned an additional 
charge on the country of eight millions per annum, with its consequent 
accumulation of specie in the treasury. 

No\v, as six months are but half a year, and the half of eight mil- 
lions is four millions, it follows, according to Mr. Banks, that the 
distribution of this amount in the totality of the business of the 
country produced all our disasters. Not a single day's transactions 
of this city, — less than one six-hundredth part of the annual product 
of lab.)r of the country, — but one five-hundredth part of its agricul- 
tural production, and one three hundred and seventy-fifth part of its 
manufacturing production, assuming for the purpose the very figures 
of Mr. Banks. And we are solemnly told that, but for these six 
months' delay of Confess to take the advice of Mr. Guthrie in the 
matter, there would have been no trouble. Is this suggestion a grave 
assertion, or a mistimed pleasantry, like the jests of the imperial 
Tribune at the sorrows of Rome ? 

Then, says Mr. Banks, this delay, of such fatal consequences, was 
the act of President Pierce. How? Let us hear Mr. Speaker. 
He says : — 

"The Government in the first instance supported that policy. Mr. Guthrie 
never faltered. Every year for four years he repeated his "views witii increasing 
strength, as an honest man should. But the Piesident was a man from another 
section of the country. He did what Presidents will sometimes do. He came 
down at tlie bidding of a superior power." 

Here is an assertion that the Secretary of the Treasury, like an 

honest man, adhered to the early avowed policy of the Administration, 

but that General Pierce, its head, did not; and Mr. Banks leaves it 

to be infeircd, but does not venture to say, that the imputed change 


18 ■'\, 

of thought on the part of the President caused the delay of six months' 
action in Congress. 

What is the proof of this imputed change of policy on the part of 
the President ? Mr. Banks alleges no argument of proof, except the 
allegation that, in one of his four annual messages to Congress, he 
omitted to re-urge on that body, in repetition of previous messages, 
consideration of Mr. Guthrie's plans ; and that, in another, he expressed 
disapprobation of the views of JNIr. Guthrie. 

If the President had so omitted, in one of his messages, to renew a 
previous recommendation, it would have proved nothing. Congress 
always delays, from year to year, on all subjects of general legislation ; 
and each President has to recommend his measures over and over 
again ; and it is always a matter of delicacy on the part of a President 
to decide how far he may, without obstruction of his own wishes, 
assimie to importune and jiress the action of Congress. 

But, in the present matter. President Pierce did not yield to such 
apprehensions. Mr. Banks is totally and lamentably mistaken as to 
his supposed premises of fact. I might say that of my own knowledge. 
I prefer to stand on the documents. There is each of the annual 
messages of President Pierce to testify for itself, — that of 1853, of 
1854, of 1855, of 1856, — in each one, successively,'he, in the most 
unequivocal and positive language, iterates and reiterates to Congress 
recommendation of attention to the views of Mr. Guthrie. 

" In his second message, that of 1 854, he (President Pierce) makes no specific 
allusion to the subject of the tariff." 

So says Mr. Banks. The statement is a mere mistake of oversight 
or misinformation. In the message of 1854 President Pierce expressly 
renetos, with explanatory statistical comment, and at considerable 
length, those recommendations of the message of 1853, which Mr. 
Banks, at the start, admits to have been correct in themselves, as well 
as conformable to the wise views of ]Mr. Guthrie. 

So, also, Mr. Banks is mistaken, when he says that the expressions, 
which he quotes from President Pierce's message of 1855, are in con- 
tradiction of Mr. Guthrie's views. On the contrary, the same idea is 
expressed in the reports of Mr, Guthrie. 

in the same connection Mr. Banks says, in order to sharpen the 
point of reproach against the Presideirt : — 

" I say, fellow citizens, that the clearest and safest course for the Government of 
the United States is in favor of amicable relatiojis with such neighbors as we have 
on the North and the South. And it was this very idea, which M'as shadowed 
forth in the proposition of Mr. Guthrie at the commencement of the late Adminis- 
tration (1853). But, as I have said, it ivas defeated." 

And Mr. Banks then proceeds to explain what he means by defeated, 
in one of the passages above quoted, to be the alleged coming down 
of the President on the subject of the tariff. To that I have already 
replied. But how the delay of Congress for six months, or for three 
years, to pass Mr. Guthrie's tariff, — and whether that delay was 
justly imputable to the President or not, — had any thing to do with 
the true policy of the Government, which is, according to Mr. Banks, 
" to favor amicable relations with such neighbors as we have on the 


North and the South,'" he does not satisflictoiily exphiin. The idea 
suggests some singuhir queries or doubts. 

'^' Amicable rehxtions with such neighbors as we have on the North 
and South ! '' Who are these neighbors ? Our own countrymen ? 
Oh, no ! We are not to have amicable relations with them ! It is 
the' pervading thought of the speech of Mr. Banks, it seems to be the 
reverie by day, and the dream by night, of himself, and those with 
whom he acts, to destroy forever all amicable relations between fellow 
citizen neighbors of the North and South. It is of neighboring nations 
or colonies, undoubtedly, that he speaks. 

What neighboring nations and colonies ? " At the North and 
South," he says. Well, we have none at the North except the British 
Provinces. Of course, according to Mr. Banks, the true policy of the 
country, and the original thought of the Administration, in so far as 
regards the British Provinces, — " amicable relations," — was defeated 
by the President's desertion of Mr. Guthrie in the nick of time. 

Fellow citizens, do we indeed live in a country of speech and of the 
press, when the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United 
States, havino- made at Washington such marvellous discoveries as 
this, comes with solemn air to announce them in Faneuil Hall to the 
good people of Boston? "Amicable relations" with the British 
Provinces to wait for the tariff amendments of the last session of the 
last Congress ! Such " amicable relations," defeated by the changed 
policy of President Pierce ! Why, who, man, woman, or child, in 
IMassachusetts, does not know that these amicable relations Avere 
deliberately arranged and thoroughly established by the treaty with 
Great Britain, negotiated and signed by Mr. Marcy, under the official 
and personal superintendence of President Pierce ? And Mr. Banks 
forgets this, — assumes erroneously that the measure was a legislative 
one, and defeated, meaning postponed six months, — because, forsooth, 
President Pierce, "at the bidding of a superior power" failed '' to 
favor amicable relations " with such neighbors as we have on the 

But then, according to Mr. Banks, " at the bidding of a superior 
power," President Pierce also omitted, at the same time, " to form 
amicable relations with such neighbors," as we have " on the South," 
as well as with sucll as we have on "the North." Who were such 
neighbors as we have on the South, whom, according to Mr, Banks, 
President Pierce ought to have favored, persistently ftivored, but did 
not? Not our own countrymen at the South, it is clear; for they 
are slaveholders, and ought to have no "favor "from any person, 
President though he be of the whole United States. Then, who 
comes next as our neighbor on the South ? Cuba? What ! Intole- 
rant as we are, in ]\Iassachusetts, of slavery in Virginia or Louisiana, 
to the degree of absolutely hating, on that account, one-half of the 
United States, are we nevertheless to. take to our affections the 
sinners of Cuba, and receive from them the wages of sin, which we 
cannot endure in Alabama and Louisiana ? 

But, " amicable relations with such neigldwrs as we have on the 
South!" Our only neighbor nation on the South is Mexico. How 
were " amicable relations " Avith Mexico to be affected by a delay of 
six months, more or less, in the proposed modification of the tariff^ 


Mr. Banks docs not explain, nor can he. There is no definite idea 
bel Jnd his words. All that could be done " to favor amicable rela- 
tions " with Mexico was done by President Pierce, and done effectu- 
ally. Such relations were not interrupted for a moment, during the 
last Administration. Nay, the most constant efforts were made by 
the Administration, and its successive ministers, to establish a cus- 
toms-union between the United States and Mexico. But, alas for 
Mexico, she is perishing from the evil effects of the inconsiderate 
emancipation of her Indians and Africans ! Nothing can be done 
Avith her, except for money ; — cash in hand, to the very masters of 
the silver mines of La Luz and Real del Monte, is the only means by 
which to treat with Mexico ; and the Government hesitated to buy of 
her. as we might have done, a treaty of commerce, and a possessory 
mortgage to boot on half her territory. So much for the imputation 
of defeating amicable relations with such neighbors as we have on the 
North and the South. 

But, again, why urge on the United States "amicable relations '" 
only with such neighbors as we have on the North and the South ? 
Would Mr. Banks exclude amicable relations with the East and the 
West? With England, France, Germany, Italy, in the East? With 
China, India, Peru, Australia, on our West ? It would seem so. Or, 
if not, we must regard the whole expression as a mere phrase of 
speech, not possessed of any very clear significancy even in the mind 
of Mr. Banks, 

But whether he had in the statement of his premises a distinct idea 
of their force or not, — and erroneous as we have seen them to be, in 
any possible construction of his language, — still, he draws from them 
inferences of accusation against President Pierce. Unjust we have 
shown these to be. Let us now scan their inducement and object. 

That, indeed, is presented by Mr. Banks in language sufficiently 
explicit and intelligible. It is the imputation that President Pierce 
obstructed the views of Mr. Guthrie from complaisance to the South, 
and that the South required it from him, out of its hatred of the 
North : — all which is argument to the North to hate and fear the 

I have shown that the assumed fundamental fact of this argument 
of sectional hostility is not true, and thus the sujDcrstructure falls to 
the ground. But is it not singular that Mr. Banks should thus en- 
deavor to extract suggestions, of such a nature, out of the alleged 
six months' delay of jSIr. Guthrie's project, when, after all, the project 
succeeded, — when it was the initiation of a man of the South, — when 
its success was dftie to the unwearied exertions of a man of the South ? 
Yes, Mr. Guthrie, wise and good man as Mr. Banks concedes he is, — 
Mr. Guthrie, a man of the South, suggests and procures the modifi- 
cation of the tariff; and yet, in the face of this, Mr. Banks, on 
account of six months' delay of its enactment, would have us believe 
that " i7 iiHis defeated^'' ancl that therefore the North has cause of 
enmity and hatred against the South ! 

Gentlemen, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the 
United States comes here to impute the delay to the President, 
when, if he will remember what was passing before him, in the 
House over which he presided, he will see that the real cause of the 


delay was in the condition, views, and action of the responsible 
majority of that very House of Representatives. 

Go back six months from the time when the new tirifT provisions 
passed, to the closing hours of the first session of that Congress, and 
see the spectacle exhibited! Why did not that majority which Mr. 
Banks represented, pass at once the law, which, if passed, would, 
we are told, have prevented all financial difficulties ? Is not the 
answer palpable ? They were full of Kansas, — they were wild about 
Kansas, — everybody had a speech to make on Kansas and must make 
it, — nay, the ver}' wheels of the Government were stopped, in that 
insane agitation over Kansas, by the mouth of Speaker Banks him- 
self, announcing the premature adjournment of the House of Repre- 
sentatives ! Because of the zeal of that House to feed the flame of 
civil fury it was, and therefore only, that the interests of the manu- 
fiicturers were overlooked, nay all the great interests of the United 

I take leave here to say, and I do it with pleasure, that, for all the 
errors of statement which Mr. Banks commits, — and they are multi- 
tudinous, in figures, facts, illustrations, not merely in the matters 
which I have touched upon, but in many others which the public 
press has signalized, — as to all this, I do not impute to Mr. Banks, 
as others do, wilful misstatement. I see how it happened. The 
speech contains internal evidence to show that. Mr. Banks had come 
forward to make a speech in Faneuil Hall on the financial crisis. It 
was needful, as he thought, in such a speech, at such a time, 
addressed to the merchants of Boston, to address them with an apparent 
mastery of statistical or documentary matter. And that matter was 
to be collected and arranged on the preconceived and false idea, of 
endeavoring to make it appear that the inhabitants of the Northern 
and Southern States of the Union are natural and necessary enemies, 
— and that the chief end of man, and of woman, at the North, is to 
hate our fellow citizens of the South. He undertook a moral impos- 
sibilit}^ and, in the performance of it, he raised up a monument, not 
of honor and fame, but of unreason and error. He has compelled 
us, — not absolutely to impeach his veracity, — nor of necessity to 
charge wilful misstatement, — but to regard with permanent mistrust, 
and to suspect as crudities or mistakes, all these rather ostentatious 
compilations of statistical or documentary matter, which he occasion- 
ally publishes under the name and guise of speeches on commerce or 

But, to return to Mr. Banks' explanation of our financial embar- 
rassments — he, in the second place, informs us, thej^ are to be attrib- 
uted to " reckless extravagance of the General Government," — 
meaning, by the General Government, that very Mr. Guthrie, whom 
he had previously admitted to be among the best and most upright 
of men. This he explains thus : — 

" The average expenses of the Administration, for each of the four years pre- 
ceding lSo'2, was less than fifty milHons of dollars. The average expenditure of 
the four years last past was seventy-two millions." 

Here is imputation of "reckless extravagance." in the difference 
between fifty millions and seventj'-two, imputed to the last Adroinis- 


tratiou ; and that extravagance the cause of the failure of the Ohio 
Life and Trust Company, and of the panic of the Banks of Xew 
York. Now, the fact happens to be, that this very difference, of 
twelve millions per annum, consists mainly of payments, in advance, 
on account of the public debt, advised and executed by Mr. Guthrie 
for the reason, among others, that, in so doing, he relieved commerce, 
and strengthened the currency, by sending into circulation the coin 
locked up in the treasury. All the Avorld commended this at thg 
time. All the world has recently applauded the same policy in Secre- 
tary Cobb. And this, a measure of the most beneficent character to 
the country, it is, in effect, which constitutes the reckless extrava- 
gance of the last four years of the General Government. 

And, if such extravagance had existed, whose the fault ? Mr. 
Banks will not venture to say, he does not say, that the President, 
or his Cabinet, determines the expenditures of the General Govern- 
ment. He knows that Congress does this. And sp, anticipating this 
objection, he proceeds to say that it is because, during the last few 
years, the country has been " rent with discussions on the slave 
question ; " and because, " in the heat of discussion of that irritating 
subject," every body has been "blind, deaf, and dead" to all other 
considerations. And therefore, according to Mr. Banks, no member 
of Congress could look into the expenditures of the government. 

The conclusion is vmsound. Aiiy member of Congress could do it, 
who chose. Many members did choose ;, but they struggled in vain, 
it is true, to gain the ear of a House given up to agitation, about 

Mr. Banks sees the evil. But does he propose a remedy r No ! 
On the contrary, the whole point of his speech, the thread of thought 
which runs throughout its contexture, its closing summary, the very 
ground on Avhich he claims the suffrages of tlie people of Massachu- 
setts, is to continue to make the discussion of the slave question the 
paramount, if not the exclusive, occupation of the people of the 
United States. 

In the third place Mr. Banks, — by argument from the cession of 
swamp lauds in the West to the States in which they lie, and land 
grants to States for aid in the construction of railways, — labors to 
continue the topic of financial distress as a cause of animosity be- 
tween the North and the South. There is not time for me to comment 
at length on the facts and inferences of Mr. Banks in this relation ; 
for every one of them requires criticism and contradiction, either in 
part or in v^^hole, more especially in regard to the question of respon- 
sibility, as between the Executive and Congress, and as between the 
great sections of the Union. The simple fact is, that all these land 
grants, if sectional in their character, are questions, not of slave 
labor States against free labor States, but of the old Thirteen States, 
North and South alike, against the new States of the West. That is 
a large topic, not capable of just exhibition in this relation. Suffice 
it for me, here, to deny the premises ; to deny the conclusion ; and, 
above all, to lament the unhappy state of mind, which thus dedicates 
itself to the unholy task of incessantly fanning the embers of discon- 
tent, and seeking to iiifuse tl\e venom of sectional animosity into the 

whole business of life in these United States, under the guise of 
resisting the slave power. 

Aye, the slave power, — jealousy of the political potver assumed as 
the consequence of the possession of slaves by the South, — pursuit 
of poiccr at the North by artful appeals to that jealousy, — sucli is 
the theme of the Republican candidate for the executive chair of the 
Commonwealth. Not the poor slave, — not the abolition of involun- 
tary servitude as a moral wrong, — not the sufferings of the bondage- 
bred sons of Africa, — but the poioer of the white men of the Southern 
States. Mr. Banks does not indulge in visionary schemes of emanci- 
pation. Mr. Garrison, Mr. Phillips, or Mr. Sumner may plead for 
the liberty of the bond-man; but Mr. Banks pleads fbr power. So 
far is he from demanding the political equality of all races, tliat he 
spontaneously suggests, in his speech at Springfield, the disfranchise- 
ment of the Chinese in California, the application to them of the 
decision in the case of Dred Scott, — the Chinese, but a shade in color 
darker than ourselves, — the Chinese, a cultured and lettered race, the 
depositaries of the oldest and most tenacious of all the forms of 
human civilization. What! Shall not the disciple of Confucius and 
Mencius say, as well as the black savage of Africa, — Am not I a man, 
and a brother ? Oh, no ! he is to be trampled on, a« of inferior cast 
to us, seeing that his condition, for better or worse, does not involve 
any question of j^oioer between the North and the South. 

Jealousy of the South ! Such would not be my theme, if the de- 
mon of sectional hate had so possessed itself of me. I should not 
strive to draw the attention of Massachusetts away from the only real 
danger, of a sectional nature, which threatens, and to fasten her 
attention to an imaginary one. Not by the comparatively small 
section of the Union, lying between Mason and Dixon's line and the 
Gulf of Mexico, is the sceptre of power in this Union to be held 
hereafter ; but by those vast regions of the West, State after State 
stretching out, like star beyond star in the blue depths of the firma- 
ment, far away to the shores of the Pacific. What is the power of 
the old Thirteen, North or South, compared with that of the mighty 
West ? There is the seat of empire, and there is the hand of impe- 
rial power. Tell me not of the perils of the slave power, and the 
encroachments of the South. Massachusetts and South Carolina will 
together be but as clay in the fingers of the potter, when the great 
West shall reach forth its arm of jjower, as ere long it will, to com- 
mand the destinies of the Union. 

But far from me be all such unworthy jealousy either of the South 
or the West. I am content to be one of those, whom Mr. Banks 
arraigns, because of their resistance to the depraved sectional piissions 
at the North, of which he has taken upon himself the special advo- 
cacy and patronage. But I am not content that he should insultingly 
insinuate, as he does, that every man at the North, aye, the whole North 
as one man, according to him, is characterized by a craven spirit of 
unworthy compliance. That you may be satisfied I do not misrepre- 
sent him, I quote one of the expressions. It is a passage already 
quoted for another purpose, and which I requote, inserting now the 
apj)lauses in the revision of his speech by Mr. Banks, as follows : — 



" Mr. Guthrie never faltered. Every year for four years (Mr. Banks means 
three years, but he is very inexact on all matters of date and figures) lie repeated 
his views, with increa.sed strength, as an honest man should. Ikit the President 
was a man from anotlier section of the country. (Laughter.) He did what Presi- 
dents will sometimes do. He came down at the bidding of a superior power. 
(Renewed merriment.)" 

And that is uttered in the ears of men of New England ! Aye, 
and the men of New England are deliberately represented, by the 
orator himself, as laughing merrily at the idea of the imputed univer- 
sal dishonesty of themselves, the men of New England ! For that is 
the. idea. Mr. Banks is not satisfied with saying — and we have seen 
upon what gross errors of fact he says that, — he is not satisfied with 
groundlcssly and wantonly saying, that President Pierce, being the 
reverse of Mr. Guthrie, in honesty of character, came down., — but he 
imputes this ^s a general trait of the " section of the country," to 
which the Ei-President belongs. If the imputed fact had been true, 
as it is not, it would have aff'orded good cause of personal reproach in 
the opposite quarter. Mr. Guthrie, as Mr. Banks admits, is a brave 
and honorable man. What^might be said of him, if he had acquiesced, 
and remained in the Cabinet, Avith the President disingenuously coun- 
teracting his views ? I know him. He would not have remained a 
day, no, not a minute. We should ha-^ seen him take up his hat 
and cane, without a word, and his tall form stalk off, and make tracks, 
on the instant, for Kentucky. If Mr. Banks had reflected well on 
his own premises, he would have perceived that his conclusion was 
impossible. To give a shadow of plausibility to his conclusion, it 
would be necessary to reverse the well known traits of Mr. Guthrie, 
and charge unworthy complaisance, not on the President, but on him, 
and, pursuing the same line of thought, to chai'ge it on his Avhole sec- 
tion of country. For, I say, Mr. Banks does not merely impute 
dishonest compliance to President Pierce, but, in making this imputa- 
tion, he explains, that this was not a fault of the individual character 
of the President, — by no means, — it was the quality of the section 
of country of which he is, — in other words, of Noav England. 

Fellow citizens of Massachusetts and New England, I call upon 
you to mark, and stamp with indignation, this unpardonable assault 
upon the character of every man of New England, and the circum- 
stances and inducements under which it is made. One of your own 
citizens is a candidate for your sufli'ages. He pleads his cause in 
person before you. That cause consists, from beginning to end, of a 
coming down of his from the elevation of a national statesman, 
whereon he might and should stand, to pander to the diseased appe- 
tite for sectionalism and sectional animosity, wdiich unhappily lingers 
among us, but only in the breasts of less than one-third of the people 
of Massachusetts. If there ever was an act of " coining down at the 
hid ding of a svperioj' powc7'," it is this, in which the Speaker of the 
House of Representatives of the United States asks to be made Gov- 
ernor of Massachusetts, on the ground, as elaborately explained by 
him in person, — on the ground to, which he comes down at the bid- 
ding of the superior power of passionate sectionalism, — the ground 
of mere hatred of our fellow citizens of the South. And, to make 
out a plausible case, even at that, he is obliged, not only to picture 


in the most odious colors the character of individual statesmen of the 
North, but to stigmatize in the mass the whole population of New 
England! And, under the stigma of this imputation, the men nf 
New England, according to Mr,. Banks, laugh, laugh here in Faneuil 
Hall with renewed merrimenl. I should have supposed, on the con- 
trary, that the verj' walls of Faneuil Hall would have rung out, in a 
peal of irrepressible resentment, with "mouths full loud." at this 
most wrongful imputation on the character of all New England. 

Fellow citizens, we have had too much of this ! Too long has that 
most doe-faced of all doe-facedness, a trembling compliance with 
some party passion of the hour, assumed injuriously to impute its 
awn infirmity of temper to all those, who hold fasl, in .«pite of dis- 
couragement, to independence and to truth, and who, — loving their 
country, and their whole country, — with Winthrop, prefer a united 
Nation to a united North ; or with Choate, reverently follow the 
flag and keep step to the music of the Union. I say, there has been 
quite enough of this, as to persons, and it has got to stop. For we 
now have its consummation in the form, in which Mr. Banks puts it, 
of indiscriminate insult to the whole of New England. 

Yes, men of Massachusetts, I say that line of wretched sectionalism 
of thought, and the set of narrow ideas which appertain to it, have 
had their day. It has come to pall on the sense, and revolt all good 
sentime nt. Massachusetts feels, instinctively, that her mind is capable 
of better uses than to be perpetually secreting poison from the bless- 
ings of nature and society, — picking flaws in the institutions of the 
country, — and regarding the United States in the little, through 
inverted telescopes. We are not all of us, here in ^Massachusetts, 
atrabilarious, hypochondriac, with sour humors in the blood causing us 
to see black objects dancing before the mind's vision, by day and by 
night. We do not believe, as from the loud assumptions of a particu- 
lar school, and their busy activity at conventions and in public assem- 
blies, it might be inferred we do, that all religion, all integrity, all 
honor, consists in being a cordial hater of the rest of the United 

No, gentlemen of the Kepublican party, I defy you to establish 
permanently, in this Commonwealth, that impossible policy of ran- 
corous and vindictive hatred of all the white men of the South, and 
of all the white men of the North Avho refuse to join you in hatred 
of the South. You may attain power in the State of Massachusetts, 
from time to time, but never by your own strength. You are not a 
majority of the citizens of the State: you are not even a plurality. 
It is only by a series of unstable coalitions with other parties, each 
succeeding one more deceptive and transitory than the last, that you 
ever ri=e even to the appearance of power. And such power, as you 
may attain here, will prove but apples of Sodom in your mouth; for 
the hypothesis, on which yovi proceed, will never allow you to reach 
that, which all the higher aspirations of your public life look to, — 
power in the United States. You may be the idol of a sectional or 
local party, but with a weight on its shoulders, like the rock of 
Sisyphus, to keep you toiling in vain to reach the bright summits of 

" The steep where Fame's proud temple shines afar." 


You may be great in a single State, but with a greatness which looms 
out luridly from the mists and gloom of sectional discord and strife, — 
and with names never destined to swell the pealing anthem of the 
glories of the United States. 

God grant, that, in these things, a better spirit may hereafter pre- 
vail among all the citizens of this State ; that instead of giving them- 
selves up to sectional agitation, and to the propagation of ideas, which 
are s-terile of any possible fruit, save civil war, — they would cultivate 
concord and harmony. May so mmy clergymen, now tlie ministers 
of discord and anger, go back to the pure ministry of the Gospel ! 

And Mr. Banks himself, so capable of better things, let us entreat, 
in the earnest language of Francesca to Alp, to pause, ere he devote 
himself to an "immortality of ill," as the irreclaimable enemy of the 
unity and peace of the United States. Oh, that he had but chosen 
the nobler part ! How much better and purer the honors he then 
might win ! Of those men of Massachusetts, who in our time have 
been called by Providence to places of high power in the Federal 
Government, Adams, Webster, and Marcy have gone to occupy each 
his bright page in the golden book of the names of the great men 
of the country, whose memory death hallows ; three only, Everett, 
Bancroft, and other, have held foreign embassies or served in 
the Cabinet ; four only, Choate, Everett, Winthrop, and Rockwell, 
have represented their State in the Senate ; and of tliis small number 
of surviving men of Massachusetts, of similar political position, all 
but one have stepped over that line which divides the past from the 
future, and are now far removed from the fresh years of life. How 
few the obstacles to the advancement of a younger aspirant in the 
same path ! How unwise in a Speaker of the House of Eepresenta- 
tives of the United States, to seek to hurry advancement, by. the 
endeavor, vain let us hope, to rekindle, in Massachusetts, the expiring 
embers of ill-will towards our fellow citizens of the Southern States I 

1 feci admonished that it would be unreasonable to trespass much 
longer on your indulgence. I hasten, therefore, to a conclusion. 

Gentlemen of the Young Men's Democratic Association, j'ou belong 
to that great party, which now stands alone in its glory, as the refuge 
of constitutional opinions, and as the depository of the hopes of the 
American Union. 

In the Federal Government, you have, at the head of public affairs, 
a statesman of approved wisdom, experience, and patriotism, — emi- 
nent in all the ca])abilities demanded by his high station, and who, 
with the aid of a Cabinet of Avise, experienced, and patriotic men, is 
administering tlie government in the spirit of the Fathers of the 
Republic. Him, you are proud to honor, — him, you can, with emu- 
lous respect, hold up to the confidence and support of your fellow 
citizens of the State. 

For the admiuisiration of the State, you have, in Beach and Cur- 
rier, candidates, worthy, by the admission of all, of your cordial adhe- 
sion, and fitted, in all things, to do honor to Massachusetts. Let no 
doubts of success, — no timid calculation of other contingencies, — 
cause you to swerve a hair's breadth from the straight line of duty. 
Labor untiringly for the day, — near at hand, it is to be hoped, and if 
not near yet assuredly not remote, — when the Commonwealth shall 


rejoice to put her welfare in their hands, and assume her own fit 
pUice in the direction of the affairs of the Union. 

The Commonwealth needs their services. Its disordered finances, 
— the intolerable burden of its expenditures, — the misdirection of its 
counsels, — require the remedy of a Democratic Administration, alike 
in the Executive Chamber, and the Legislative Halls. Nothing less 
can restore its lost position, and its lost self-respect. 

To conclude, then : Merchants of Massachusetts, with your superb 
galleons from the shipyards of East Boston and Newburyport, mov- 
ino- over the sea in the pride of their beauty and their strength, 
freighted with the rich agricultural productions of Carolina and 
Louisiana, you have been told here, that your interests are in conflict 
with those of the South ! — Manufacturers of Massachusetts, you, 
with your palatial manufactories to weave into apparel, for the world's 
wear, the agricultural productions of Georgia and Alabama, have been 
told here, that you must surrender yourselves to the evil spirit of 
jealousy of the South. — Citizens of Massachusetts, and especially you 
of the industrial classes, who wear the cotton, eat the corn and sugar, 
and drink the coS"ee of slave labor, and who provide objects of art 
for the use of slave labor, and of those who own it, you also have 
been told that slave labor is the irreconcilable antagonist of free labor, 
and that therefore, leaving all other things, you must betake your- 
selves to hating the South, with a sworn hatred like that of Annibal 
for Rome. — Men of ]\Lassachusetts, you are exhorted to cultivate 
amicable reUitions with Cuba, — slave colony though it be, — to supply 
it with lumber, food, and other objects of value, and to buy and con- 
sume its products, and thus to sustain and perpetuate slave labor 
there, and love slave owners, while you are called upon to sacrifice 
the peace and honor of the State, and dedicate yourself, from the 
reprobation of slave labor, to unceasing hostility against your own 
countrymen of the Southern States. — 

When I hear such counsels darkly intimated, under specious dis- 
guises of speech, to the State of Massachusetts, it seems to me that 
the First Tempter, as depicted by Milton, is before my eyes : — 

" Close at the ear of Eve, 
Assaying by his devilish art to reach 
The organs of her fancy, and with them forge 
Illusions, as he lists, phantasms and dreams ; 
Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint 
The animal spirits, tliat from pure blood arise, 
Like gentle breaths from rivers pure, thence raise, 
At leas^t distempered, discontented thoughts, 
Tain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires, 
Blown up with high conceits engendering pride." 

My friends, to dispel such mischievous inspirations, it needs but 
the lightest touch of Ithuriel's spear of truth. 

I say, down, down to the infernal pit, where they belong, with all 
these devilish insinuations of malice, hatred and uncharitableness ! 
You, the people of Massachusetts, do not, in the inner chamber of 
your heart, approve, and will not, on consideration, adopt, this abomi- 
nable theory of sectional spite and hate. You will, in the end, if not 
to-day, repel that policy with scorn and horror. Before that time of 
sober judgment comes, I, who stand up for the Union, in its letter 


and spirit, — who will die in the breach rather than " let it slide," — 
I may be struck down by the tempest of party passion, but others, 
better and more fortunate, will rise up to fill the gap in the ranks of 
the sacred phalanx of the soldiers of the Constitution. Man is feeble, 
mortal, transient; but our Country is powerful, immortal, eternal. 
In the long ages of glory which lie before us, rolling onward one 
after another like the ceaseless rote of the surging waters on the sea 
shore, wave upon wave rushing on to fill the place of that which sinks 
into the main, generations of men will come and go, wdth their joys 
and sorrows, their aspirations and disappointments, their conflicts and 
their reconciliations. Then it will be seen, that he who was the high- 
est had been but an atom of the great whole, and he who was hum- 
blest had been as much. We are alike in the hands of the Almighty, 
and but the instruments of His Avill in the doing of the great work, 
commeiiced by our Fathers at Jamestown and Plymouth, continued 
by them at Saratoga and Yorktown, carried on by us at Monterey 
and Mexico, — the great work of reducing to cultivation and civiliza- 
tion the savannahs and forests of our Country. Massachusetts, once 
the banner State of the Union, will not be found backward', at the 
hour of need, in performing her appointed part of that great work of 
the Lord God in the New World. 


FdJoui Citizens and Friends : — 

I have consented to address you this evening, with reluctance. 
Not from unwillingness to oblige, of course, or to contribute, if in 
my power, to your instruction. Indeed, my relations of gratitude to 
this city, to say nothing of regard and affection for its individual 
inhabitants, make it a duty, as well as a pleasure, on my part, to 
comply with your wishes on this or any similar occasion. But, for the 
same reason, it is disagreeable to me to discuss, here, parti/ politics ; 
to speak in opposition to any body ; to trespass on the convictions of 
any citizen of Newburyport. That sentiment will guide me this 
evening. It will be my purpose to discuss principles rather than 
parties ; to defend my own views of the public interests, but without 
attacking those of others, at least in any hostile sense. 

In a Avord, it is my theme to urge attention to the affairs of Massa- 
chusetts, in contradistinction to the exclusive consideration of those 
of the United States. It is true that, in doing this, it will be neces- 
sary to speak at some length of sundry Federal questions. I shall do 
this, however, in the single aim of endeavoring to satisfy you that 
many of those things, in the affairs of the Federal Government, 
which have heretofore absorbed your attention, ought to do so no 
longer ; that neither their nature, nor any possible relation of theirs 
to th'e public interests, requires that they should ; and that you may 
well pause for a time from agitation concerning the policy of the 
United States, and turn your attention more particularly to that of 
the State of Massachusetts. 

I observe that a writer in the Daily Advertiser, in criticism of the 
speech lately delivered by me in Boston, says that much of it was 
devoted to national affairs. The criticism is not just in the sense in 
which it is made and applied. I spoke then, as I propose now to 
speak, to the end of discouraging, so far as may be in my power, a 
substitution of certain national issues in the place of questions of 
more immediate interest to us ; to do which effectually, it was neces- 
sary to meet other gentlemen on their own premises, and correct what 
seemed to me untenable as reason, and unpatriotic of spirit, in the 
views of national policy, Avhich they sought to impress on the people 
of Massachusetts, and so to make the guiding thought of the electors 
in the election of the officers of the State! 

I do not intend, either by substantive suggestions, or by the 
language in which they shall be presented, to wound the just suscep- 
tibilities of any person, of any party, who may honor me with his 
attention ; but on the contrary, to reason calmly on certtiin questions 
of the day, as among friends, and in the style and spirit of conversa- 



tion, rather tlum of disputatious debate, or even of ordinary popula- 

The current questions of the day are of two great classes, constitu- 
tional ones and practical ones ; the first, involving considerations of 
mere law, and the second, of common sense and practical wisdom. 1 
shall have to begin with the first class of questions. AVhat, yon may 
ask, discuss questions of constitutional law to a popular assembly ? 
I say yes, why not ? We need to understand such questions, if the 
public peace turns upon them, and more especially if misapprehen- 
sions regarding them are at the bottom of much agitation in the pub- 
lic mind, and if the only way to calm that agitation is to correct those 
misapprehensions. And why hesitate to discuss constitutional ques- 
tions before a popular assembly ? It is our boast that the people oi 
this country are its legitimate sovereigns. Of course, they do, or 
should, comprehend their own rights and powers. That they do so in 
fact is universally assumed, in the system of popular election as the 
means of selecting the agents of government and communicating 
direction to its policy and its acts. I do believe that the people of 
the United States are competent to consider and to judge such ques- 
tions, and that it can be no more out of place for an American states- 
man to discuss them at the forum of the American people, than it was 
for the great masters of thought and speech, in ancient times, to dis- 
cuss similar questions before the people of Athens or of Rome. Least 
of all can that be out of place in the presence of an assembly of the 
educated and enlightened people of Massachusetts. 

To show how necessary it has become, in the political affairs of the 
State, to discuss mere questions of law to the people, it needs only to 
refer to the recent letter of a respectable gentleman in Springfield, 
(Mr. Chapman,) which had for its purpose to assign " the principal 
reason" why he shall now vote for the gubernatorial candidate of a 
party, to which he says he has "never belonged." Now, what4:hink 
you is this principal reason ? Is it the superior qualifications of the 
candidate, or any special fitness of his for the office of governor ? 
No, that he does not pretend. Is it the general integrity, sound 
principles, or capacity for the public good of the party, for whose 
candidate he now for the first time votes ? No, — he does not profess 
to have any better opinion of their party or its candidate now, than 
heretofore, when he voted against them. Is it because the gentleman 
thinks ill, either absolutely or relatively, of the candidate, whom he 
now abandons'? By no means. Is he filled with a dread of the 
slave power ? Is he about to dedicate himself to the cause of emanci- 
pation ? Is it because of some overpowering emergency of the pub- 
lic interest, that he feels impelled to vote for the candidate of a party 
to which he does not belong, as when certain Federalists in the House 
of Representatives voted for Jefferson ? No, it is nothing of that. 
What is it, then? — you all inquire. My friends, you would never 
guess. It is, Mr. Chapman says, because " there is one question 
sometchfit involved in this election, on ivhich I roish to give a vote." 
Now, the question, which is onltj somewhat involved after all, is a 
naked legal question, as to which not the Supreme Court of the Uni- 
ted States, nor even the Attorney-General, but the President, has 
expressed an opinion, which Mr. Chapman thinks is not good law. 


To sliow his own opinion the other way, Mr. Chapman votes for the 
candidate of a party to which he does not belong, without stopping 
to inquire how many erroneous opinions on the other side he thus 
emphatically sanctions. That, he thinks of no importance ; he sacri- 
fices every thing to the desire of testifying his own opinion of a single 
abstruse point of law. 

I think, therefore, my friends, you will be satisfied that we must 
talk mere law a little, sometimes, even before a popular assembly. 

I perceive some ladies have honored me with their presence here 
to-night. I half regret it. Good taste forbids me to address them 
specially, and the questions we have to consider, particularly the 
legal ones, are as dry as the old parchments on which the la^vs are 
enrolled. But the ladies may derive one useful subject of reflection 
from hearing the questions of the day discussed. It is stated of one 
of the least reputable of the Koman Emperors, Elagabalus, that he 
instituted a senate of ladies, with his mother for president, and that 
the institution broke down upon a desperate controversy between its 
members on the fashion of their head gear, and the proper style of 
robes of ceremony. This, belieA^e me, is a despicable calumny of 
some crusty old bachelor. The mother of Elagabalus, Soremias, was 
a better man than he, in so far as force of character constitutes man- 
liness ; and she, and her sister, Mamrea, and her mother, McEsa, 
Avere the ruling spirits of their time, who made and unmade empe- 
rors, and would have established a dynasty if they could have 
assumed the purple toga in their own persons. And it needs but to 
remember such cases as Elizabeth of England and Catherine of 
Russia, to show us that it is not convenient, even here, to call in 
question the capacity of the ladies for exercising the powers of gov- 
ernment. Far be from me any such rash thought. On the contrary, 
if the men of Rome laughed at the apparent triviality of the subjects 
of discussion of the members of the female senate of Elagabalus, it 
seems to me that the women of America have much greater cause to 
wonder that their fathers, husbands, sons, brothers, and lovers get so 
much disturbed and excited over the remnants of two or three old ques- 
tions of law, Avhich are now the chief ostensible subjects of difference 
to divide the people of the United States. 

I desire, if possible, to allay in some degree this disturbance and 
excitement in the public mind, which arises at the North out of 
disapprobation of the system of slave labor at the South, and the 
supposition here of encroachment, as it is called, of the South on the 
North, in the matter of recent acts of Congress, and decisions of the 
Supreme Court of the United States. 

To begin, let me call your attention to one of the fundamental 
ideas in the organization of the Union, that of the equality of the 
several States. Without the recognition of this, the Union never 
would have been formed. That, — the concession by the large States, 
such as Virginia and Massachusetts, of the independence and sove- 
reignty, and consequently equal rights, of the small States, such as 
Delaware and Rhode Island, was the primary condition of the Union. 
This idea was consecrated in the fact of an equal representation in the 
Senate being accorded alike to the large and to the small States. 
The Senators are the representatives, the ministers, the ambassadors, 


so to speak, of the individual States in the Congress of the United 
States. Ill thus according to each State the representative right of 
sovereignt}^ the Constitution also accorded to each equality of rights 
within itself, in the exercise of all the powers of legislation, subject 
only to the restrictions and limitations prescribed by the Constitution. 

The constitutional effects of this idea were not fully appreciated at 
the outset ; that is, it needed the teaching of events, as they hap- 
pened from time to time, to exhibit the practical working of the idea, 
whether in the legislation of Congress or in that of the several 
States. Hence, not only in the ordinances which preceded the adop- 
tion of the Constitution, but also in acts of Congress passed after- 
ward,?, provisions occur, which impose limitations and restrictions 
on som:; of the States without imposing the same on others of them, 
and thiS constitute inequality of legislative authority and of legal 
condition as between the two classes of States. 

This inequality of condition did not become distinctly apparent 
until a comparatively mature period of time in the history of the 
government. It happened thus. After the admission of the State 
of Alabama into the Union, the attention of its people became fixed 
on the fact, that while, in the adjoining State of Georgia, the riparian 
lands, between high and low water, the flats so called, >^',were of 
the domain of that State, yet the same lands in the State of Alabama 
continued to be regarded as of the domain of the United States. 
Alabama was one of the new States formed out of territory belonging 
to the United States, while Georgia was one of the old thirteen 
States ; and in each of the old thirteen States, including Georgia, 
the riparian rights had been held by it before the Revolution, and so 
continued afterwards, while, in the new States, the same rights were 
considered as integral parts of the public lands, and so vendible and 
patentable by the United States. At length, the people of Alabama 
made question with the United States on this point, the State under- 
taking to give patents there, as of its right, in disregard of the patents 
granted by the Federal Government. In the regular course of legal 
controversy that question came before the Supreme Court of the 
United States, in the year 1844-5, and it was then adjudged that, in 
virtue of the necessary and inherent equality of the States, these 
rights, belonging to the old States within their limits, must also, 
within its limits, belong to the State of Alabama. It availed nothing 
to cite, on the other side, compacts by act of Congress and by ordi- 
nance of the Constitutional Convention of Alabama, to the contrary 
of this ; for, ruled the Supreme Court, no act of Congress binding the 
sovereign power and legislative authority of the State of Alabama in 
any respect, as to which the legislative power and sovereign authority 
of the State of Georgia are not also bound, can be valid ; it must be 
null and void, because incompatible with the iiniversal paramount 
principle of the political equality of all the States. 

This, observe, was a controversy in the State of Alabama, sug- 
gested by the perception there of the fact of inequality between it 
and the State of Georgia, on the premises of these riparian lands 
belonging to the United States. It did not involve any question of 
slave labor or any other question of possible sectional antagonism, 
between the North and the South ; it was a mere question of right in 
land, as between the new States and the old thirteen States. 


'". The United States, or their grantees, were not content with this 
^decision ; they brought the question before the Supreme Court again, 
in the year 1849-50, and the Supreme Court again decided that, in 
virtue of the constitutional equality of the old and new States, the 
State of Alabama, on the moment of its admission into the Union, 
and in virtue of that fact, and in spite of any legislative acts or ordi- 
nances to the contrary, became constitutionally entitled "to these ripa- 
rian lands, and they passed, by reason of the doctrine of the rights 
and equality of the States, from the hands of the United States into 
those of Alabama. 

^Still the United States, or their grantees, Avere not content ; and 
they proceeded once more, and a third time, to submit this question 
to the Supreme Court, Avhich persisted in its decision, and for the 
third time, in 1851-2, dismissed the question as one which no longer 
admitted of controversy. 

Meanwhile, another case came up, and this time from the State of 
Louisiana, which tested the doctrine of the equality of the States, 
and the nullity of any provision outside of the Constitution impairing 
this equality. In this case it was not a modern act of Congress, but 
a provision of the great ordinance of 1787, which came under consid- 
eration. The plaintiff in the case, Permoli, contended that the 
municipality of New Orleans had violated rights of religious free- 
dom, guarantied by the ordinance of '87, and thus the validity of that 
ordinance came to be the question to be passed upon by the Supreme 
Court. They decided that it was a nullity, because it impaired, so 
far forth, the legislative power of the State of Louisiana, in a par- 
ticular matter, as to which there was in the Constitution no corres- 
pondent limitation of the legislative power of any one of the old States 
of the Union. 

But, if the ordinance of 1787 is null in itself, null as a whole, then 
all its parts are null, including that provision which appertains to 
involuntary servitude ; for, if the State of Ohio be not allowed the 
same discretion, to tolerate or not tolerate slave labor within her 
limits, as the state of Virginia has, then Ohio and Virginia are not 
co-equal States, but Ohio is in a position of unconstitutional infe- 
riority to Virginia. 

That precise question did not long delay to come before the Su- 
preme Court. It happened in this Avay. Certain colored men of the 
State of Kentucky were allowed by their masters to cross the river 
into Ohio, and there to have occupation as musicians at public assem- 
blies, returning after that into the State of Kentucky. Had they 
been rendered free by their sojourn in the State of Ohio ? It was 
claimed by or for them that they had ; and that was the question for 
the determination of the Supreme Court : — which decided that, in virtue 
of the equality of the States, the provision of the ordinance of 1787, 
prescribing free labor in the State of Ohio, that is, limiting in this 
respect the legislative power of Ohio, was a nullity, because thus 
restricting that legislative power of Ohio, while no such restriction 
existed in the case of New York or Pennsylvania. The Supreme 
Court decided in this case as, from the legal sequence of previous 
decisions, it was bound to do, that no effect could be given to the 


ordinance in the case, and that the legal status of the parties de- 
pended on the constitution of the State of their domicile and resi- 
dence for the time ; if in Ohio, on that of Ohio ; if in Kentucky, on 
that of Kentucky. That conclusion was in conformity, as well with 
the doctrine of the right of each State, as with that of the equality of 
all the States. This was in 1850-51. And thus, by a series of de- 
cisions, embracing various branches of the subject, the doctrine of 
the equality of the States, in all these relations, was determined and 
established af5 law. 

Finally, the Supreme Court have recognized the doctrine in another 
relation, that of the navigation of the rivers of the United States. 

Now, in the year 1852, with such adjudications of settled law on 
this point, all, who reflected on it, saw one more inevitable step at 
hand- It had not yet been visibly taken ; but it had' been taken by 
the feet of the mind, as it were, on the part of all careful observers of 
the progress of constitutional opinion. That step was to apply to the 
Missouri Compromise the doctrine of the equality of States. It had 
been applied to the ordinance of 1787, which, in organizing, before 
the date of the Constitution, the territory north-west of Ohio, ceded 
to the United States by Virginia, Massachusetts and others, — con- 
trolled in advance, or professed to do so, the legislative power of the 
States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Missouri, and so 
placed them in a position of inferiority, shorn of essential elements 
of sovereignty, relatively to the other States. It had applied that 
doctrine to acts of Congress, which undertook the same, and to com- 
pacts with States which undertook it, not only in the matter of public 
lands, but in other matters ; for it was by act of Congress that the 
ordinance of 1787 was applied to the State of Louisiana, and it was 
in a case from this State that the ordinance was dealt with, and pro- 
nounced a nullity under the Constitution. All these acts and ordi- 
nances had been declared null and void, for the very and sole reason, 
that they restricted the free action of the new States, in things, as to 
which the Constitution did not speak, and as to which therefore there 
was no restriction on the old States. But that was the very thing, 
which the statute accompanying the admission of Missouri, — the Mis- 
souri Compromise, — did. It was nothing else but an act com- 
manding and prescribing in advance the institutions, in a particular 
matter, to be established by the new States to be formed on the 
territory ceded by Louisiana to the United States. Therefore, it was 
unconstitutional and a nullity. 

I foresaw that adjudication to this effect must come, and so pre- 
dicted in official opinion, rendered on a question of conflicting juris- 
diction between the United States and the State of Florida. It did 
come in the case of Dred Scott, Avhich determined no new principle, 
but merely accepted, and applied to a new case, a principle long since 
thoroughly and fully settled in all other cases. That the decision 
embarrassed persons not of the legal profession, is not to be wondered 
at ; the wonder is, that it surprised any person of the legal profession. 
If the series of decisions under review had been of the time of Coke, 
nay, of that of Mansfield, or of Ellenborough, learned lawyers and 
law professors would have comprehended their bearing and effect, and 


would not have been troubling themselves, — down to this day, even, — 
Avith discussing the law of the Missouri Compromise and Dred Scott's 
case, utterly oblivious of the cases of Pollard i^s. Hagan, Pollard vs. 
Kibbe, Hallctt vs. Beebe, Permoli vs. New Orleans, Strader vs. Gra- 
ham, and Veazie vs. Moor. 

Such then is the law of the land, as pronounced by its constituted 
judicial authorities, and so fixed by its relation to various interests, 
more especially the public lands in the new States, that it cannot bt 
changed without an amendment of the Constitution ; or rather lee 
me say, it cannot be changed Avithout a revolution and a sanguinary 
civil war — not a war between the slave labor States and the free labor 
States, but a war between the old thirteen States and the new States 
of the great West. And if, in the case of Dred Scott, it had been 
morally possible for the Supreme Court to decide otherwise than it 
did, — if that Court could have overlooked or overruled its previous 
decisions in affirmance of the equality of the States, — to have done 
that would have produced revolution. 

And thus the law stood, when the question of organizing the new 
territories of Kansas and Nebraska came up and had to be settled by 
Congress. At that moment. Congress and the Executive were con- 
strained to see that the Missouri Compromise had now become a 
nullity in law, and could by no legal possibility exert any efi"ect in 
the direction or government of the territory of Kansas. In accept- 
ing, as they did, this state of facts, and recognizing it in the act for 
the organization of the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, the South- 
ern States made no gain in the matter of interest. They obtained by it, 
and so did the Northern States in like manner obtain, the final authen- 
tication of their relative equality of right, and that of the relative equality 
of each and every one of the States. That was not a sectional gain, 
either of interests or of principles : it was, in these respects, the gain of 
the whole Union. The Union, or, to speak with more precision, the 
people of the United States, made, in this act, another gain ; they gained 
the complete recognition and firm establishment of the political doc- 
trine that the people of each incipient new State shall, at the time of 
their admission into the Union, have the power of determining for 
themselves their future institutions, — without being subject, in this 
respect, to the mere dictation and arbitrary will of Congress. Finally, 
the v/hole people of the United States attained by this act the further 
gain, of disposing of territorial questions, the question of slavery 
included, upon premises legally right, — right in political theory, that 
of popular sovereignty, — and aff'ording to all sections of the Union a 
common and neutral ground of abstract justice and of nationality, on 
which to meet together for the administration of the Federal Gov- 

I accept, therefore, my share of present and of future responsibility 
in regard to the action of the Executive of the United States, in the 
matter of Kansas. I know that it was the purpose and the anxious 
endeavor of the President of the United States, as it was of the Sec- 
retary of State, to secure to the proper inhabitants of Kansas per- 
fectly fair play in the government of that Territory. I think it was 
not their fault, if any thing in derogation of this, or any disorder of 


whatever sort, occurred there ; but that it was the fault of the excited 
passions of the hour, those passions being influenced, not only by out- 
side agitators, aid companies, border ruflfians, and what not, but still 
more by the mischievous intervention and systematic agitation of 
parties in Congress, hoping and laboring, by means of this question, 
to drive from power the Democratic party and instal the Republican 
party in its place. In a word, it was a presidential question, engen- 
dered, born, nursed, and left to die of inanition, with the progress 
and termination of the pending election of a new President. 

Whether it was good policy or not, on the part of the late Adminis- 
tration, to do as it did in this respect, is of no consequence now save 
as matter of history. I do not merely say it was right on the part 
of that Administration to do as it did, but that it was morally im- 
possible for it to do otherwise ; for the Administration had no power 
to roll back the current of the decisions of the Supreme Court. 

And, as regards the merits of that legislation, let me now ask you, 
the people of Massachusetts, why continue to agitate that question ? 
You cannot change the law : that is absolutely fixed beyond your 
power. Why, then, worry ourselves concerning it, in Massachusetts ? 
Could any thing be more unreasonable, more idle, more objectless? 
Is not that now a question of the mere domain of history, and of no 
more or other present interest than that of the innocence or guilt of 
Mary Queen of Scots, or of Queen Anne Boleyn ? Yes, we might 
as well quarrel and fight this day over either of those questions, just 
as the Irish now do about William of Orange, as to persist in disturb- 
ing our temper or that of our neighbors on account of the provisions 
of the act for the organization of the territories of Nebraska and 

I repeat, that I accept, without one thought of misgiving, my share 
in the responsibility of the last Administration in that respect. I 
appeal, as to any present condemnation of it, from the people of the 
United States angry, to the same people in the calmness of matured 
reconsideration, — from Philip drunk to Philip sober, — if that allusion 
may without irreverence be applied to any portion of the people of 
the United States. 

I deny that in this measure President Pierce was guilty of any 
departure from the provisions or the principles of his inaugural 
address. I deny that he, or any act of his, this or any other, re- 
opened the slavery agitation. I say that agitation was reopened by 
those, who conceived that, upon its turbulent waves, an opposition 
candidate for the presidency might be carried up to the White House. 
But Providence has been just, and the administration of the Federal 
Government is continued, not, to be sure, in the same hands, but in 
the same party, in the same principles of public law, and in the same 
policy of impartial neutrality, as respects all parts of the Union, 
North and South, East and West. 

I said just now, and said with intention, that it was the earnest 
purpose and endeavor of the late President of the United States, as 
well as of the Secretary of State, in whose department rested the 
administration of the federal relations of Kansas, to secure to its 
inhabitants, in their entirety and plenitude, all the benefits, in letter 


•and spirit, of the provisions of the act of Congress for the organiza- 
tion of the Tcrritor}^ I know not how the idea has got into circula- 
tion that the President and his Secretary differed in policy on this 
subject. I know not how it is that many other errors spring up in the 
community to the displacement or obstruction of truth, nor how all the 
tares come to choke the Avholesome growth of the wheat field. So it 
seems to be in the order of things on earth. 

Mr. Banks, in his speech here, was pleased to speak in compliment- 
ary terms of the members of the late Cabinet. I thank him for his 
courtesy, in their name as well as my own. If he had stopped there, 
it would be Avell. But he proceeded to condemn President Pierce, 
while praising his Ministers, and especially William L. Marcy. I 
quote from the Bee, as follows : — 

" He (Mr. Banks,) paid a high and merited tribute to the worth and memory 
of Mr. Marcy, whose counsels/if heeded, Avould have prevented all the trouble, 
which Mr. Pierce's administration had entailed upon the nation." 

I suppose Mr. Banks alludes here to the controversy about Kansas, 
its incidents and consequences, I cannot imagine any thing else ; 
and the context shows it was that. He assumes that, in this, Mr. 
Marcy gave unheeded counsels to the President. 

My friends, Mr. Marcy was my daily associate, officially and per- 
sonally, for the space of four years, and his memory is dear to me. 
He was a son of Massachusetts, and his name should be cherished by 
every citizen of the Commonwealth. I cannot, in your presence, 
allow the suggestion of Mr. Banks to pass without notice. 

Yet my relation to the subject is a delicate one. The advice which 
a member of the Cabinet gives to the President, either separately, or 
in the presence of his colleagues, is confidential. It is a privileged 
communication, by law ; that is, the Supreme Court have decided, in 
the case of Marbury vs. Madison, that a member of the Cabinet can- 
not be required to disclose such things in a court of justice. Nay, it 
has come, and justly, to be a point of honor, that no member of the 
Cabinet is to disclose what occurs in consultation with, or advice to, 
the President. Matters of this nature become public only when they 
reach the stage of an official act of the Go\^ernment. 

Thus, it is not proper for me to state, of my own knowledge, what 
advice Mr. Marcy gave President Pierce- I can say nothing except 
that which is of public notoriety, or which exists in such form as to be 
capable of public notoriety. And the facts in this case are so far noto- 
rious, that the marvel is, how Mr. Banks, or any body else possessed 
of the same means of knowledge, should fall into the errors of fact, 
and the errors of inference from supposed facts, which. he has com- 
mitted, regarding the respective relation of Mr. Marcy and of Presi- 
dent Pierce to the question of Kansas. 

By the Constitution, the executive power of the United States is 
vested in the President. But he cannot of himself do all the supreme 
executive business of the Government. Hence, the Constitution sup- 
poses that he has Cabinet Ministers, Heads of Departments, to advise 
him, to act for him, to administer, under him, the affairs of the 

At the foundation of the Government, these Cabinet Ministers 


were four, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the 
Secretary of War, and the Attorney-General. They constituted the 
Cabinet of "Washington. A fifth, the Secretary of the Navy, was 
added in the time of John Adams. The Postmaster-General was 
taken into the Cabinet by Jackson. And a seventh Department, that 
of the Interior, with its Secretary, was created by a law, which went 
into effect in the accession of Taylor. And so things now stand. 

Of these departments of the Executive Government, the duties are 
partly defined by law, and partly by orders, general or special, of the 
President. For he is the Executive ; and they are his Ministers or 

At first, what is now the Department of State was called the 
Department of Foreign Aff'airs. After it came to be called the De- 
partment of State, it vt^as made the depository of much of the miscel- 
laneous business of the Government. Thus, at the accession of 
President Pierce, the Secretary of State conducted the correspondence 
in foreign aff'airs ; superintended the appointment of foreign minis- 
tei'S and consuls ; kept the statute rolls ; kept the great seal, and 
affixed it to official papers ; superintended the administration of the 
Territories ; superintended the investigation of applications for par- 
don ; superintended the appointments of a legal nature, as judges, 
attorneys and marshals ; and in addition to all that, he, like the other 
Ministers, conducted any miscellaneous correspondence, or other 
business, whieh might be specially required of him by the President. 

These duties, even the ordinary ones enumerated, are, as you per- 
cuive, of a very miscellaneous and a very onerous nature. Foreign 
aflFairs are quite enough duty for one Secretary. Mr. Marcy saw this 
when he entered on the duties of his office, and proceeded to consult 
the Attorney-General, the legal adviser of the Government, on the 
subject. They agreed to counsel the President to transfer, from the 
office of the Secretary of State to that of the Attorney-General, three 
great branches of the public business, — pardons, legal appointments, 
and such legal correspondence of any of the Departments as its head 
might see fit. Thus, if the President, or the Secretary of State, or 
the Postmaster-General, chose to refer any matter of legal correspon- 
dence, arising in their Departments, to the Attorney-General, it was 
part of his duty to take charge of it. And thus it happened, that in 
questions of foreign relation, such as the enlistment question, the 
neutrality question, and others, the legal correspondence came out of 
the office of the Attorney-General, that occurring, not as many persons 
supposed, and as, on more than one occasion, public journals erro- 
neously inferred and injuriously imputed, by the voluntary act of the 
Attorney-General, but by the special request, in each case, generally 
in writing, of the Secretary of State. In all these ways, and espe- 
cially in the matter of pardons and legal appointments, the duties of 
the Attorney-General were doubled, and those of the Secretary of 
State so far forth diminished, — leaving to the latter, in substance, 
foreign affairs, the custody of the great seal and the laws, and the 
administration of the Territories. 

And so, during the administration of President Pierce, Mr. Marcy 
administered the Territory of Kansas. He issued the insinlctions to 


the successive governors ; lie received their official letters ; he ad- 
dressed official letters to them ; and it was a part of his particular 
duty to keep in his mind the current of affairs in that Territory, and, 
when asked, or without being asked, to give advice thereon to the 
President. In a word, Mr. Murcy conducted, officially, and by 
instructions and acts issued from his office, and bearing his signature, 
the relations of the United States with Kansas, just as fully, and in 
the same way, as he did the relations of the United States with Great 

The hypothesis of Mr. Banks assumes, in the first place, that Mr. 
Marcy is to have the credit of the negotiations with Great Britain to 
the complete exclusion of the President, and that the President is to | 
have the blame of the conduct of the affairs of Kansas to the com- 
plete exclusion of Mr. Marcy. That hypothesis is altogether gratuitous, 
not warranted by any facts, and contrary to reason. Either the Presi- 
dent directs, and is responsible for praise or blame in both branches of 
business, or he does not direct, and praise or blame attaches to Mr. 
Marcy. There is no escape from that dilemma, as a general pre- 

Mr. Banks contradicts this general presumption. What authority 
has he for the contradiction? I know of none. But his hypothesis 
then proceeds to assume, in the second place, that the affairs of Kansas 
were misconducted, to the degree of producing all the troubles, which 
Mr. Pierce's administration had entailed upon the nation ? What? 
Did Mr. Marcy remain at the head of his department three years, 
while its business continued to be thus misconducted ? Did he stay 
in the Cabinet, while his advice was permanently disregarded ? Did 
he from day to day sign and send off instructions and letters for the 
government of Kansas, which were in his judgment prejudicial to the 
public interests, entailing troubles on the country, and dishonor on 
the Administration ? I say, no, gentlemen, that is impossible, mor- 
ally impossible, monstrously impossible. It is totally incompatible 
with the premises of the high worth of Mr. ]Marcy. To aver it, is to 
affix an indelible stigma on his memory. As a man of honor, as an 
upright and conscientious man, he could not have remained in the 
Department and the Cabinet, a mere mechanical instrument, like a 
copying clerk, signing and issuing orders, executing measures, carry- 
ing out a policy, which his conscience disapproved, and which was 
imposed on him by the mere will of the President. I say this is impos- 
sible, and cannot be. Mr. Banks falls into the same fallacious mis- 
conception here, in regard to Mr. Marcy, as he did in Faneuil Hall, 
when speaking of Mr- Guthrie, and the falsely alleged difference of 
opinion between him and President Pierce as to the tariff. In each 
case, while professing to censure the President, and to applaud the 
Secretary, he in fact imputes the most criminal violation of duty and 
honor on the part of the Secretary. That is to say, he errs alike in 
his premises and conclusions. 

It is very singular that Mr. Banks, or any other gentleman of his 
intelligence and experience, should have taken ixp such ideas, with 
obvious reasons to show their fallacy, and with public documents 
before him on the files of Congress to show their falsity, both as 


respects Mr. Guthrie and Mr. Marcy. It is but another example of 
the extreme, and, let me say, senseless, prejudices, which had some- 
how got hold of many minds, as to the matter of Kansas, and as to 
the late Administration as connected with it. 

I come now to the case of Dred Scott, which, owing to certain 
peculiar circumstances not convenient for me to speak of on this 
occasion, has been greatly misunderstood or misrepresented in some 
of the Northern States. 

The case was this : Dred Scott, in 1834, was a negro slave in the 
State of Missouri, belonging to Dr. Emerson, a surgeon in the army. 
He went with Dr. Emerson, that year, to the military post of Rock 
Island in the State of Illinois. Thence, in 1836, he accompanied 
Dr. Emerson to Fort Snelling, in the territory north-west of the 
River Mississippi. After marrying there a female slave, Harriet, 
belonging also to Dr. Emerson, he, with his wife and children by 
her, in 1838, accompanied Dr. Emerson back to the State of Missouri. 
Meanwhile, on the decease of Dr. Emerson, Dred, as a part of his 
estate, passed into the legal custody and control of Mr. J. F. A. 
Sanford, as executor of Dr. Emerson's will, the residuary interest 
under the will being in his widow, now the wife of Dr. Chaffee, Mem- 
ber of Congress from Massachusetts, and in her minor daughter, the 
child of Dr. Emerson. 

In this condition of things, after some litigation in the courts of 
the State of Missouri, Dred got into the Circuit Court of the United 
States for the District of Missouri, in the form of a suit for trespass 
against Mr. Sanford, under whose immediate direction he seems to 
have been, at least for the purpose of the suit. 

I have never understood why, in these circumstances, it needed two 
j-ears' litigation to try the question whether Dred was a freed man or not. 
It would seem that, if it were so clear that Dred Scott was of right 
free, as to make it cause of reproach to any court to decide otherwise, 
his master ought so to have said, voluntarily, and without putting 
the courts and lawyers, to say nothing of Dred himself, to so much 
trouble on the subject. If a good man has in his possession any 
thing, whatever it is, land or freedom, which belongs to another good 
man, there is no occasion for a lawsuit. In this point of view there 
is some mj'stery behind the case. It looks like a fancy case, carried 
on, if not got up, for the public edification and amusement. I do not 
complain, if this be so, nor impute blame in any quarter; on the con- 
trary, I think we have cause to be exceedingly grateful to all con- 
cerned, courts, lawyers, parties, including Dred himself, for the 
opportunity, which thus came up, to have so many important questions 
finally adjudged, as they were, by the Supreme Court of the United 

In Dred's behalf, it was alleged that he and his family were free, 
first, on the ground of residence on Rock Island, within the limits of 
the ordinance of 1787, and secondly, of residence at Fort Snelling, 
within the limits of the Missouri Compromise. On the other hand, 
it was argued that Dred, being an African, was not a citizen of the 
United States competent to sue as such in the Circuit Court ; that 
his residence out of Missouri did not make him free, or, at any rate, 


did not make liim free in ihe State of Missouri. The Circuit Court 
so decided ; and thus a case was made for the Supreme Court. 

After being twice deliberately argued in that court, it was decided, 
by seven judges against two, and the decision pronounced by the 
venerable and learned Chief Justice. 

I say the case was decided. I know it has been contended in the 
newspapers, and in some journals of a more elaborate chai'acter, and 
by respectable members of the bar, that the decision is not a decis- 
ion, that the arguments of the Chief Justice are unsatisfactory, and 
that the Supreme Court of the United States was mistaken. 

"With pardon of gentlemen who have come to such conclusions, let 
me say. first, that the record shows that there was a decision, and that 
the mandate of the Supreme Court has issued to the Circuit Court 
accordingly, and that this mandate has been executed of course by the 
Circuit Court. I speak to lawyers now, and I think they will, on 
reflection, be inclined to admit that all that constitutes a decision. 

In the second place, as to the arguments of the Chief Justice, a 
magistrate in that office for now twenty years, before that Attorney- 
General, and long ago at the head of one of the ablest bars of the United 
States, — that of Maryland, — a man now more than eighty years of age, 
infirm of bodj% but with a mind which seems to beam out the 
clearer from its frail earthly shrine, as if it had already half shaken off 
the dust of mortality and begun to stand as it were transfigured into 
the celestial glory and beauty of immortality, — I say as to his argu- 
ments, I think he might well speak to any one of his critics in the lan- 
guage addressed by Chief Justice Marshall one day to a lawyer who 
was reading to him out of Blackstone, — "■ Young gentleman, it may 
be assumed, for the purpose of this argument, that the Chief Justice 
of the United States has some knowledge of the common rudiments 
of law." > 

And as to the third point, of the Supreme Court being mistaken in / 
the law, I respectfully suggest to my brethren of the bar, what is rather 
a technical consideration, it is true, but is not the less important, that, \ 
in a matter of law fully before it, the Supreme Court cannot err ; that V 
is impossible ; lawyers may err, inferior courts may err, but there is [ 
no writ of error to the Supreme Court ; that is impossible by the I 
Constitution. What is decided by it is decided, beyond all human 
power, except a change of opinion on its part. What it pronounces 
law is law, as much as if written in an act of Congress ; nay, more, 
it has constitutional power to annul any statute by pronouncing it 
unconstitutional. It is the constitutional expositor of the Constitu- 
tion, and its exposition becomes the sole admissible reading of the 
Constitution, remediable, if wrong, only by amendment of the Con- 
stitution. That is elementary. If it were otherwise, there would be 
no law of the land, but only anarchy of opinion among disputing 
lawyers, with the press to hallo them on, and cry stuhboij, until all 
rights, whether of person or property, Avere scattered like chaff to the 
wind, and no security left for any body but in the strong hand, the 
sharp-edged sword, and the very convincing eloquence of the cannon. 

I understand the argument to be this : because the court decided 
that they had no jurisdiction of the points of the case, that therefore 


the oi)inlon of the Chief Justice, who speaks expressly in the name of 
the court, is ohiter dicimn only, that is, incidental remark, not legal 
decision. Under favor, that is not so. If the conclusions of the 
court be of the essence of the decision, then they are law. Here, 
the question was, jurisdiction or not? Defendant's counsel said, the 
court has no jurisdiction because the plaintiff is not, as the law re- 
quires in order that he should bring an action of trespass in the Circuit 
court, a citizen of the United States. So the court had to decide 
the point of citizenship. But then, said plaintiff's counsel, the court 
has jurisdiction, because, by living at Rock Island, within a part" of 
the country from which the ordinance of 1787 excluded slavery, Dred 
Scott became a freeman. And so the court had to decide this. And 
then again, said the plaintiff's counsel, if not freed in Illinois, by the 
ordinance of 1787, he was freed by living at Fo""rt Snelling, within 
the scope of the Missouri Compromise. And so the court had to 
decide that. 

Now, as to the ordinance of 1787, the court, as we have seen, had 
already disposed of that, by a series of decisions, one of them, that 
of Strader rs. Graham, upon the very point, of the condition of a 
slave, on his return to a slave labor State, from which he had passed 
for a time into a free labor State north-west of the Ohio. And the 
principle of that decision decided the new jjoint of the Missouri Com- 
promise, which was the application of the ordinance of 1787 to new 
territory, and which, like that, was void, because it restricted the 
legislative power of the new State, and was in conflict with the con- 
stitutional rule as to the perfect equality of all the States of the 

As to the main point, whether Dred Scott was a free man in Mis- 
souri or not, that, in so far as decided by the court, stood on the ground 
that each State is the judge of the legal condition of its own inhabi- 
tants, and thus neither has power to determine it in or for another 
State. That is the doctrine of the jurists everywhere. Lord Stowell 
so decided in the case of a slave ; and we find, in the published 
writings of Mr. Justice Story, his letter accepting the decision of 
Lord Stowell, and so, in effect, approving in advance the determina- 
tion of the court as to Dred Scott. 

Nothing remains, except the question whether the court decided 
correctly, in deciding that Dred Scott was not a citizen of the United 
States. A little calm consideration of the question will relieve U3 of 
all doubts on that point. 

At the time, when the Constitution of the United States was 
formed, the future Union consisted of the thirteen British Colonies, 
which had fought the battle of our national independence, and of the 
vast unorganized territory, which, by compacts between the Colonies, 
and by the treaty of peace, had become their common property. 
Each of the thirteen Colonies or States was 'independent of the 
others, except in so far as they were associated by sundry common 
rights and interests, or by the imperfect political bonds of the Con- 
federation. So emphatically true is this, that, in the early legislation 
under the Constitution, North Carolina and Ilhode Island, which at 
first"" refused to accept the Constitution, were treated as alien govcm- 


ments. Ktiode Island, especially, — conscious of the fact, whicli the 
Federal Government as M'ell as the early colonizers of the country 
have strangely oxerlooked, that Xarragansett Bay is not merely 
the best maritime harbor on the coast of North America, but the. 
only faultless one, — conceived the idea of remaining out of the 
Union, and thus enjoying to the full the unequalled commercial 
capabilities of her marine position : the fallacy of which idea was 
speedily demonstrated to her, by the enactment of acts of Congress 
depriving her of participation in the commercial benefits of the 

At that time, tlie question of citizenship was one internal to each 
of the States, which respectively determined for themselves who 
were citizens and who not. They did this, sometimes b)' gen- 
eral laws, and sometimes by special ones ; for legislative acts, natu- 
ralizing aliens, either bylndividuals or by glasses, are quite frequent 
in the primitive history of the several States. Indeed, as we shall see 
in the sequel, they may, even now, determine the question of citi- 
zenship for themselves and within themselves ; but neither of them 
has the power to determine it for other States or for the Union. 

The inhabitants of the United States, at that time, consisted of 
three distinct races, — one, native, the Indians, — and two, foreign, the 
Africans and the Europeans. Of these three races, only one, the 
Europeans, were the people of the United States. They, (the Euro- 
peans), were the " people,"' who issued the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence ; and they were the " people," Avho ordained and established 
the Constitution of the United States. Neither the Indians, the 
original occupants of the soil of the United States, — nor the Africans, 
who like ourselves came hither from across the Atlantic, — were 
people, citizens, or, in any sense or phrase of designation, parties, 
either to the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution of the 
United States. The men of European race, — the white men as dis- 
tinguished from the red men and the black men, — constituted the 
political society, of which they alone were coequal members, — while 
the Indians and Africans were not citizens, but subjects. 

That such was the relation of the three races, each to the other, 
is indicated, not only by the nature of things, as above stated, but 
also by pertinent acts of Congress ; of which it suffices to cite one, 
the most emphatic and conclusive, namely, the act " to establish a 
uniform rule of naturalization," that is, to determine in what way 
al'ens may be converted into citizens of the United States. The 
purview of this act is confined, in express terms, to free ivhilc per- 
sons. And it is well settled, as law, that this power of naturalization, 
under the Constitution, is vested exclusively in Congress. 

It is perfectly clear, therefore, that a negro alien cannot by natural- 
ization become a citizen of the United States. But it is argued that 
negroes born in the United States are not aliens, and that they are 
therefore citizens, — natural horn citizens, to use the language of the 
Constitution. That argument is founded in manifest error, — the false 
assumption that every person born in the country is a citizen of it. 
This false assumption pervades all the reasoning of the Republican 
presses and orators, Avho criticise the decision of the Supremj Court 


in the case of Dred Scott. The legislature of New Hampshire has 
pushed this error to its extremest point, by resolving, very solemnly 
but very inconsiderately, that all persons born in the State are there- 
fore citizens of the State. How false that is, can be seen at once by 
considering the case of the Indians. 

Certainly, the Indians in this country are natives enough, for they 
are indeed the only " Native Americans," in the true sense of the 
party language of the day But they are not born citizens of the 
State in which they may happen to be born, nor are they born citizens 
of the United States. That has been adjudicated again and again 
by the courts of the several States, as well as by those of the United 
States. They may be made citizens of the United States, not how- 
ever, under the general naturalization laws, but either by treaty or by 
special law. Thus, in the treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, there is a 
stipulation, according to which the Choctaw Indians may, if they 
please, be converted into citizens of the United States. So, by 
an act of Congress, it is provided that, on a certain contingency, the 
" Stockbridge tribe of Indians, and each and every one of them, shall 
be deemed to be, and from that time declared to be, citizens of the 
United States." These two examples prove that the Indians are not, 
in constitutional right of birth, citizens of the United States. 

The case of the Indians serves to dispose of another fallacy in the 
criticisms of the decisions in the case of Dred Scott, — which is, the 
erroneous idea, that, when a man is, by the constitution or law of any- 
State, a citizen of that State, he is ipso facto a citizen of the United 
States. That is not true. Thus, by the constitution of the State of 
Wisconsin, certain Indians are made citizens, with express declara- 
tion that they shall contiuue to be such, even although not citizens 
of the United States. 

The constitution of Wisconsin, as also that of Michigan, serves 
to expose another kindred fallacy, namely, the idea that when, by 
the law of any one of the States of the Union, a person is made a 
citizen of that State, he thereupon becomes a citizen of each of the 
other States. For the constitution of each of these States confers 
the political rights of citizenship, (after a brief residence,) on all 
white persons of foreign birth, who shall have declared their inten- 
tion to become citizens of the United States. It would be quite 
ridiculous to pretend that aliens of this class are entitled to the 
rights of citizenship in Massachusetts. 

Now, why should Africans, born in the United States, be entitled 
to larger rights than Indians r They are not. Nothing but the per- 
verse negrophilisni of the day could have imagined that they are. 
And, but for the morbid state of the public mind on that subject, 
there could not have been either surprise or anger to find the Su- 
preme Court, when the case came before them, deciding this point in 
obedience to well established constitutional doctrines, and in strict 
accordance with the uniform theory and unbroken practice of the. 
administrative departments of the Government of the United States. 

For the rest, there has been the most pertinacious misrepresenta- 
tion and perversion of the effect of the decision of the Supreme Court, 
in so far as regards personal rights of the Africans. It is utterly 


false to say that it deprives them of the power to defend their rights 
of person or property by suit at law. They may not sue in certain 
courts of the United States by virtue of citizenship. There are mul- 
titudes of citizens of the United States who cannot do it. Such of 
them as live in the Territories cannot, at least in the form here under 
consideration. For the exercise of the right in question is limited to 
such persons as are at the same time citizens of the United States and 
also of some State. And, as to Africans, the courts of the State or 
Territory, in which they reside, are open to them, just as they are to 
the citizens of the United States. 

Such, at the present time, is, beyond all controversy, the law. 

And now comes the practical question : Is it worth while to neglect 
the affairs of our State, in order to be unhappy about this point of 
law ? To what end ? We cannot change it without amending the 
Constitution. Can we expect that? Clearly not. To do that, we 
must have either a vote of two-thirds of each House of Congress, or 
a national convention called by the legislatures of two-thirds of the 
States, and its amendments adopted by three-fourths of the States. 
Can you? Plainly, not; for you not only have all the Southern 
States against you, but a majority of the Northern States. 

During this very year, and in voluntary approbation, as it were, 
of the decision of the Supreme Court in Dred Scott's case, the Repub- 
lican State of Iowa and the new State of Minnesota have delibe- 
rately disfranchised Africans. Before that, the Topeka Convention, 
representing the exclusive Republican party of Kansas, — and the party 
itself, by separate vote on the very question, — had disfranchised 
Africans and banished them from the proposed State. 

So that here also is a perfectly useless, idle, impracticable agitation 
as to a point of law, touching which we have no more power than we 
have to change the laws of England, And we might as well make a 
party issue here of the enfranchisement of persons of this class in 
ancient Rome, as to do it in regard to the citizenship of Dred Scott. 

I have said all, which it was my purpose to say, on this subject. 
Before passing to another subject, let me say, that, among the most 
painful exhibitions of perverted j udgment and deplorable party passion, 
which it has ever been my lot to witness in our country, has been the 
frantic vituperation, applied, in some quarters, to the Supreme Court 
of the United States, and to its venerable, great and good Chief 
Justice. The Supreme Court itself is entitled to our profound respect, 
as well for the exalted character of its members, as for its own high 
place in the institutions of the United States. The Chief Justice is 
the very incarnation of judicial purity, integrity, science and wisdom. 
Happy the land which has such magistrates in its high seats of jus- 
tice, and sustained, not by an array of armed men to execute their 
decrees, but by the veneration of their country for them, and the 
respect of their countrymen for the Constitution ! 

I had intended to speak of another question of law, which, as it 
now appears, is " somewhat involved " in the questions of the day, 
namely, that which rather unseasonably, and quite superfluously, it 
seems to me, troubles the good judgment of Mr. Chapman. With 
much respect for him, personally and professionally, it is my right to 


say, and my duty, that, in my opinion, he errs, both in his premises 
and in the general conclusion, as well as many of the special conclu- 
sions, which he deduces from these premises. I have trespassed on 
your indulgence too long to venture to go into that technical argu- 
ment now ; but am prepared to do it on proper occasion, in the belief 
of being able to do it to the entire satisfaction of the people of Mas- 

I pray you, my friends, to rest perfectly assured, that neither in 
that question of law, nor in either of the others, which have so 
much moved the public mind, is there any concealed mystery, any 
gunpowder-plot, any infernal machine, any thing, indeed, which need 
impair your equanimity. All apprehensions on that score are but 
idle phantasms of the imagination. Least of all is there any thing in 
them, which tends to the extension of slavery, or the prejudice, any 
other ways, of either the interests or the convictions of the Northern, 
as distinguished from the Southern, States. 

My friends, let us pause a moment at this point. We have at 
length reached that sensitive subject, as to which there is so much 
difference of sentiment among us, so much heated controversy, so 
much passionate emotion. We all, it may be, have definite and 
fixed opinions regarding it, which we do not expect to relinquish. I 
have, as you well know. I am not that changeful person, which 
some ill-wishers would have me be considered. Surrounding cir- 
cumstances have changed with time more than I. Things have 
changed, men have changed, the points of view, from Avhich we 
regard one another's acts, have changed. I said, in 1833, when a 
private citizen of the State, in an address to a public assembly in the 
city of Boston, as to the anti-slavery agitators of Massachusetts, 
that, in my judgment, " their influence is extremely and entirely 
pernicious in the slaveholding States," and that "-their influence in 
the free States is only less prejudicial than at the South." The 
lapse of time has but served to confirm/ this conviction. I have 
expressed it in Congress. I repeated the same belief, not many years 
agone, here, in front of this Hall, on its dedication to the public 
uses of the city of Newburyport. I think so now, when, at the expi- 
ration of twenty-four years, almost the historic period of a generation 
of mankind, with new faces before me mingled among the old and 
familiar ones, the same questions return for consideration. Without 
purpose or thought of saying a word on the subject, calculated to 
alarm the sensibilities of any one, let me siiggest two or three ideas, 
which are pertinent to the line of remark pursued this evening, and 
which appear to me to give it practical application to the condition of 
mind of the people of Massachusetts. 

\ou, the men of this State, reprobate involuntary servitude, and 
are desirous that it shall cease to exist anywhere in the world, and 
especially in the United States. Be it so. Let us take up that sen- 
timent, accept it as a fact, nay respect it as one, and reason it along 
to a conclusion. . 

You desire the abolition of servitude, especially in the Southern 
States. But can you reach it there ? Have you any legal access to 
it for the end of its abolition by law ? No, it is beyond your power ; 


you cannot legislate, in this respect, for Carolina or Mississippi any 
more than you can for Russia or Turkey. Will you, on account of it, 
dissolve the Union? No, you have not a thought of that. You are 
not members of what has been appropriately called the FooPs Con- 
vention, now sitting somewhere in Ohio for the purpose of arranging 
the dissolution of the Union. Will you break out hysterically into 
revolution, and undertake to invade the South in arms, and thus to 
set free its slave inhabitants ? Xo, you have no such impracticable 
and- absvird thought. Will you abandon yourselves to mere bad 
temper, ungovernable wrath, revilings and vituperation against all 
your fellow citizens at the South, and a majority of your immediate 
fellow citizens at the North? No, that would, you know, be a course 
fruitful of no good, but of much evil, and one not consonant with 
your sense of right and wrong, or your self-respect. 

But we would at least, you say, separate ourselves from the xmclcan 
thing ? Aye, but can you, or if you can, will you ? You can act 
upon it in one way, not to any great result perhaps, but to some 
result, in the way our Fathers preluded the War of Independence. 
Are you disinterested enough to make thorough trial of that experi- 
ment ? It is, to cease to buy from slave labor or to sell to it ; — to 
cease to sustain it by nourishing it, and by nourishing yourselves 
with it ; — to cease to build and sail ships for the transportation of its 
products ; to cease to live by the manufacture of its products ; to 
cease to wear its cotton, to eat its corn, its fruits, and its sugar, to 
smoke its tobacco, to drink its coffee or cacao. When you have self- 
denial enough to do that, then, and not until then, it seems to me, 
you will be entitled to claim superiority of conscientiousness over 
them, who do no more to keep slave labor in use than you do, and 
who, associated in life with it inseparably, uphold it of necessity, 
and not, like you, in the voluntary gratification of taste, caprice, 
convenience, or appetite. 

And, if you were able to attain that high eminence of disinterest- 
edness and self-denial, what signal effect would it produce ? You 
have the progress of events in France and England to bear witness. 
It was in France that the negro-philist agitation had its beginning : 
its first result there was the devastation of the rich Colony of St. 
Domingo, and the reduction of that to its present state of tyrannic 
barbarism and comparative desolation. Then, England took up the 
policy of emancipation, to the first result, there, of the decay and 
decline of her Colonies in the West Indies, and the augmented pros- 
perity, in the same degree, of the Spanish Colonies and of Brazil. 
Thereafter, slave labor did not cease to flourish, and to do so even 
with the aid of France and England, by reason of their commercial 
relations with the slaveholding countries of America. 

The next series of acts, in the view of working out this great prob- 
lem, was an elaborate attempt, on the part of England especially, to 
substitute, in commerce and use, the products of free labor in the 
place of those of slave labor. In the earnest effort to effect this 
result, the government of England seemed, for a while, transferred 
from the common sense statesmen of St. Stephen's to the visionary 
schemers of Exeter Hall. And, now, that well-meant undertaking 

I I 




has failed, — so utterly, that what ''""'"'" "il'iHI ill' il (III III ; for 

more cotton, more sugar, more co 011 897 784 1 >t in 
America can produce, France and England have betaken themselves 
to coolie labor, as it is called, the transportation of Asiatics to Amer- 
ica, to labor in a more cruel servitude than ever was imposed on 
Africans. Nay, such is the revolution on this subject, that men seri- 
ously discuss, in Great Britain, the expediency of going backward a 
thousand years in the work of civilization, and converting the rebels 
and prisoners of war of the East Indies into slaves to labor in the 
West Indies. 

Meanwhile, great cargoes of Asiatics are conveyed from the East 
to the West, to be employed in colonial labor, under circumstances 
of misery, for which the horrors of the old middle passage from 
Africa afford no parallel ; and this by the two great commercial 
nations of modern times, according to whose law slave-trade is piracy, 
— Great Britain and the United States. Have we not all read of one 
of these great ships, with her ship-load of unhappy coolies, destroyed 
by themselves in mid- ocean, so they might thus escape by death from 
the sufferings of the voyage and the terrors of their future condition ? 
Horrid! Horrid ! Meseems, that the loud death-shriek of that mass 
of our fellow-men — as, in the agony of their despair, self-immolated, 
with fixed eyes and uplifted hands, they sink from our sight into the 
boiling waters of the deep sea — rings sharply in the ear still, like 
the long wail of an autumn wind through the trees of the forest, 
like the multitudinous cry of a beleagured city in the hour of assault 
and sack, like that of the sinful men of old as the rising surges of the 
deluge swept over them on their last mountain-top of refuge from the 
divine wrath. And, if the echo of that death-cry rises to heaven for 
vengeance on the cupidity of our age, does it not also give utterance to 
a low voice, at least, of remonstrance against the misdirected philan- 
thropy of the age ? Of all the zealous efforts of so many good men 
to proscribe slavery and the slave- trade, is it the consummation, that, 
as Las Casas undertook to relieve the aboriginal Americans by the 
transportation of Africans to America, so now the Africans in Amer- 
ica shall be relieved by shifting the accumulated burden of slave 
labor from them to the Asiatics ? 

My friends, it is no easy task, you perceive, to reform the world, 
to abolish ignorance, poverty, vice and crime. Let him, who is con- 
fident of his virtue, look up some erring brother within reach, 
and try the individual experiment. He will find it an arduous one. 
How much more arduous, then, the task of changing the social con- 
dition and the habits of nations and of whole races of mankind ! 

What, then, you may say, — shall we sit down in hopeless apathy, 
without striving to do good? No, let us continue to strive to do 
good, — but with humble distrust of our own wisdom, — temperately, 
— charitably, — in the spirit of good-will towards all men, and ill-will 
to none, — with no presumptuous confidence in our own strength, — 
waiting hopefully but patiently on the good Providence of God.